Walcha Town and Country Committee annual ladies' luncheon

The Walcha Town and Country Committee held its annual spring luncheon last Saturday in the garden of Ivybank hosted by Colleen and Allan Green.

More than 130 women attended the event, although the numbers were down on previous years according to outgoing president Chloe Hoy, who said last year 160 ladies lunched with them.

“We are delighted with the turn out though given the current drought, and appreciate the time out taken by those who attended,” Mrs Hoy said.

“I’d also like to thank all the stallholders who came along, our hosts Colleen and Allan Green  and of course all the volunteers and the committee.”

The guest speaker on the day was local lady Dr Lisa Patterson-Kane. Mrs Patterson-Kane is a clinical psychologist who spoke about strategies to keep fit mentally.

“When it comes to physical health conditions we’re quite aware of the actions we need to take , but I don't think I’ve ever had a conversation where someone has said – I do this so I don’t become mentally ill,” she said.

“We all do things in our day to day which are actually very good for us mentally, but identifying why we do things allows us to sustain it. There is a very big difference between mental health and mental illness – mental illness  is not a good thing , mental health is. Mental health is not an entitlement though, and we are not necessarily going to be mentally healthy just because we think we deserve it. Everybody needs to actually do something to maintain, sustain and progress their mental health.”

Mrs Patterson-Kane said there were a number of things people can do to enhance their mental health.

Switch off the when and then. for example – instead of thinking when something will happen I’ll be happy look for what you can be happy about right now. You can be happy right now if you choose to be.

Mindfulness is very important . To be mindful is to be calm and to be present and to actually stop. Anxiety is the most prevalent mental illness we have in western society. We are only present for 15 per cent of our day and women are horrendous at this – multitasking is not a good thing.

Hobbies – I can’t say how important it is to have an interest. Do something you like – start doing the things that give you pleasure and satisfaction.

Stay connected – a day like today is a great way to stay connected. Being connected to friends and family is really important for your mental health. We are so digitally connected, but the amount of loneliness in the world is epidemic. The average Australian spends more time in front of a screen than they do sleeping. Make the phone call rather than text.”

More than $5,000 profit was made on the day to be donated to local mental health-related charities and to pay for the guest speaker to attend Walcha Central School mental health week.