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Don't Do It Alone documentary released
Three years ago, Operations Officer Terry Heafield’s battle with depression and anxiety took him to the lowest low of his life.
“I was in a state where I’d contemplated suicide and worked out how, when and where,” said Terry. His struggle also led to him being involuntarily incarcerated in a specialist mental health unit and ultimately, and gratefully, to medication.
Part of his recovery has been to openly share his story with other CFA members and encourage open conversations about the ‘black dog’, you can also follow his journey at the Don't Do It Alone Facebook page.
He achieved that in vigorous style, cycling 2500 kilometres around Victoria through August, stopping in at numerous fire stations to share his insights and encourage anyone battling the demon depression to reach out for help – to “push the button” as he called it.
Terry’s ride and his larger story have now been made into a documentary that will be released next week.
He called his epic ride “Don’t Do It Alone” and, all across the state, CFA members and members of the public rode alongside him but also joined in the larger conversation about depression and anxiety.
“My message is that it’s not a weakness; it’s an illness,” said Terry. “Seek help. Put your hand up. Open communication is so important. Use the resources inside and outside the organisation. Use the peer program.
“This ride [was] to show people that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a long, hard road but you’ve got to look after yourself because there are people out there who love and need you.”
Watch the full length documentary here
If you are thinking about suicide, or are worried about a friend or loved one, call lifeline on 13 11 14
A reminder there is a range of services and resources that are available to CFA members to help members manage their mental health and deal with difficulties when they arise.
Services are free and confidential, and available for matters relating to all areas of life, not only incidents. CFA volunteers, staff and their immediate family members can access these services:
Trained members offering support & guidance – contact your local Peer Coordinator
A 24-hour confidential and external counselling service – 1300 795 711
Offering 24-hour pastoral care – 1800 337 068
Information and advice on managing mental health and relationship issues –www.cfa.vic.gov.au/headsup