Southport abuzz with events for Mental Health Week

A RECORD 200 plus community events will be held across Queensland next week in an effort to help people of all ages better understand mental illness.

Tea parties, sausage sizzles, wellbeing workshops and art exhibitions will be held across the state for Queensland Mental Health Week, starting Monday, October 9.

The campaign aims to promote good mental health, raise awareness and create a better understanding of mental illness and celebrate the lives of people living with mental health issues.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic said a variety of colourful community events were planned, but there was also a serious prevention message behind the celebrations.

“We need to value our mental health and actively manage our wellbeing, as individuals and as communities, to prevent poor mental health becoming mental illness,” he said.

There’ll be three key events on the Gold Coast, all of which will be held in Southport.

Headspace will host a free youth festival on Saturday, October 7, from 11am to 4pm, at the Broadwater Parklands.

This event for young people aged 12 to 25 offers lives music acts, activities, the Check My Talent Show and more.

Gold Coast Health will host ArtBreat, a music and arts festival to celebrate the creative strengths and talents of people living with mental illness, on Friday, October 13.

It’ll be held at the Gold Coast University Hospital parklands from 10am to 2pm.

For a full list of Queensland Mental Health Week events, click here.

If you are in immediate danger call 000 now.  If you require advice or assistance, the following services can offer counselling and support:
Lifeline 13 11 14
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Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
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Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
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MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
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Gold Coast Suns Metricon Stadium

Gold Coast stadiums to get security upgrade as part of $98M Qld package

Security measures at the Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium and Cbus Super Stadium will soon be strengthened thanks to a funding boost from the Qld Government.

The State announced on Thursday that the Government had approved a package of $98.3 million to bolster Queensland’s counter-terrorism capabilities, revealing they were going to do everything they could to prevent a repeat of attacks seen overseas.

The package includes $8.3 million to upgrade security measures at nine Stadium Queensland venues.

Sport Minister Mick de Brenni said the Government was determined to keep sporting venues safe, secure and accessible.

“Guided by Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism, Stadiums Queensland has recommended a series of additional measures,” the Minister said.

“These measures include more perimeter barriers such as bollards, alarm monitoring, surveillance capability, entry searches and staff training.”

The package also includes $58 million for a new Counter Terrorism and Community Safety Centre for the Queensland Police Service at Wacol, as well as $32 million to recruit 50 new police officers, including 30 officers dedicated to counter-terrorism.

The Premier said the Wacol centre would include indoor firearms ranges, a scenario village and specialist training areas to increase capability in managing terrorism and other critical incidents.

“The Palaszczuk Government is proud of its investment in the future of community and police officer safety in Queensland,” she said.

“We must remain vigilant and that is why my Government has ensured our Police have the powers they need. We are determined to ensure they have resources and facilities to further hone their specialist counter-terrorism skills.”




Gold Coast lawyer slams “pathetic” hospital parking discounts

A GOLD Coast lawyer has renewed calls for free parking for all patients and hospital users on the Gold Coast.

Bruce Simmonds, of Broadbeach law firm Parker Simmonds Solicitors & Lawyers, said the cost of parking at the Gold Coast University Hospital was “cruel” and exploited vulnerable people who needed medical attention.

Mr Simmonds, whose clients include hospital patients struggling with the parking costs, said the recently announced parking discount rates which came into effect at the weekend were a token measure at best.

The new rates provide eligible patients and primary carers a discount of $5 off the maximum daily parking rate of $16.50 – a discount of roughly 30 per cent – at the Uni Hospital and $2 off the daily rate of $5 at Robina.

Mr Simmonds said the so-called discounts were “pathetic” and only applied to a narrow group of users.

“Hospital parking charges on the Gold Coast are cruel and disadvantage the very people who need to go there for care and treatment,” Mr Simmonds said.

“Hospital parking should be free. Simple as that. This so-called parking discount is just a cheapo PR stunt.

“… a very mean-spirited con job by the State Government pretending to care about the outrageous costs of hospital parking, then making people jump through hoops for a pathetic discount with the added hassle of a long convoluted process to actually get the discount.”

Mr Simmonds said the parking charges were “basically a hidden tax” used to supplement the income of the government-run hospitals the same way parking at airports act as a revenue raiser for airport companies.

“Our public hospitals are paid for by the community for the benefit of the community … parking fees are merely a money grab,” he said.

“They’re a rort against hospital patients and the vulnerable who may need hospital services but can’t afford to pay for private specialists.

“We need a community-driven campaign here to force the government to provide free parking.”

The new discounts are only available to patients who need to attend hospital two or more times a week for specialist treatment, or those requiring an extended stay.

Patients needing palliative, coronary or intensive care, children’s critical care, rehab, cancer, haematology, renal dialysis and newborn intensive care can also apply.

“The discount parking does not apply to ‘ad hoc’ or infrequent visits to the hospital that do not meet at least one of the eligibility requirements,” Mr Simmonds said. “It’s only for those who visit more than twice a week.”

“So Seniors attending outpatients every week get nothing. This is a mean-spirited attitude and the State Government should be ashamed of itself for such a miserable discount.”

Those wishing to apply for the discounted rates are required to fill in an application form and submit it to the relevant ward clerk, social worker, inpatient department or nurse unit manager.

Once approved, claimants at the Uni Hospital will need to present the application to the front reception desk in order to collect a single-use follow-on ticket.

That ticket is then inserted at the auto pay station after the parking ticket so the concession rate can be applied.

Patients at Robina will have to present their completed form to the parking office or reception to get their parking ticket validated before paying.

Mr Simmonds said the overly bureaucratic procedure would deter many from wasting their time – and incurring increasing parking charges – while they got their forms stamped and authorised.

“We act for victims of car accidents and work accidents who are treated at the hospital,” Mr Simmonds said.

“The insurers pay large sums of money to the hospitals to subsidise the patients but still they want more blood from them and use hidden charges such as parking fees.

“Our hospitals are no better than the airlines with their extra baggage and fuel charges.

“What’s next? Will the hospitals charge extra for patient meals and coffee?”


GC locals urged to be careful around rivers and creeks ahead of more rain

Royal Life Saving Queensland is reminding Gold Coasters to be cautious around rivers and creeks with rain forecast for the rest of the week.

Executive Director of Royal Life Saving Queensland, Michael Darben, said everyone needs to be careful around waterways.

“It’s important when storms and other major weather events occur we stay away from them, and we bunker down for the night and try not drive around during the storm,” he told MyGC.

However, the risks don’t end when the storm clears.

After an influx of rainfall, rivers and creeks can host a whole new set of dangers.

“People often want to go out and check what’s happened (after a storm), but there can easily be lots of snags, rocks and tree branches under the surface that can pose a risk to people,” he said.

A recent study showed in Queensland, 318 people have drowned in rivers, creeks and streams during the last 15 years, with 78 per cent of them males.

“They’ll attempt to do things that are just that little bit more dangerous, they want to show a little bit more bravado in front of their mates,” Mr Darben said.

Breast Cancer Support

Locals affected by breast cancer invited to free Gold Coast forum

What happens after treatment? That’s a question faced by many of the 3300 Queenslanders diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

So this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Cancer Council Queensland are hosting a free community information session called ‘Moving on after breast cancer treatment’ for local women and men affected by breast cancer.

The info session will take place on Wednesday, October 25  from 12.30pm-3pm at the organisation’s Gold Coast office at 1 Short Street, Southport.

Guest speakers, including health professionals from Gold Coast University Hospital and a local breast cancer survivor, will help provide information about the ongoing effects that can occur after breast cancer treatment and offer ways to manage and improve overall health and wellbeing.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said breast cancer survivors needed dedicated information and support to assist them in adjusting to life after cancer treatment.

“Recovery from breast cancer surgery and treatment can be challenging, and rebuilding physical, emotional and mental wellbeing is critical to recovery,” she said.

“Our session will provide information and support to those who have been affected by breast cancer, while creating an opportunity to connect with other people dealing with the same issues.”

Ms McMillan encouraged local breast cancer patients and survivors to attend, particularly if they had unanswered questions about their cancer journey.

“We encourage all those who have breast cancer, or have completed treatment for breast cancer, and their family and friends, to join us for a morning of support and information.”

Bookings are essential. To reserve your space call Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 or email before October 23.