On 25 February 2014, Beyond Blue embarked on a journey across Australia to encourage and support people everywhere to 'Take 1 step' for better mental health.
The Beyond Blue National Roadshow was launched at Parliament House in Canberra by Prime Minister The Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Beyond Blue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC, the then Beyond Blue CEO Kate Carnell AO, and Medibank Health Solutions Group Executive Dr Matthew Cullen. The Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Bill Shorten, also attended, along with Beyond Blue Board Directors.
Over the next 15 months the big blue bus travelled more than 53,000km, visiting some of the most remote parts of Australia and stopping in 360 rural towns, regional centres, capital cities and suburban neighbourhoods.
Along the way, the National Roadshow team – made up of a rotating roster of 80 Beyond Blue staff and drivers – attended 528 community events and started conversations about mental health with 100,000 people.
Working with the then 61 Medicare Locals (transformed to Primary Health Networks in July 2015) and countless community groups, schools, business chambers, tertiary institutions, sporting clubs, local councils and health organisations, the journey enabled Beyond Blue to talk face to face with the Australian public on their home turf.
Where possible, the Roadshow’s arrival in a community coincided with large local events. Activities also included free community barbecues, morning teas, comedy nights, movie screenings and visits to shopping centres, sporting events, workplaces, schools, universities and aged care facilities. Dozens of forums were also held for local health professionals to showcase Beyond Blue’s work.
The Roadshow message was simple and effective – everyone can ‘Take 1 step’ for better mental health by tuning in to how they’re feeling, opening up and talking through their worries with people around them, and taking action to get help if needed.
The Roadshow also aimed to create better links between people and their local support services, reduce stigma by encouraging open conversations about mental health and the sharing of stories, and putting Beyond Blue’s free resources directly into the hands of individuals seeking information.
The National Roadshow concluded in May 2015, with the people, places and stories leaving a lasting impact that will continue to drive Beyond Blue and its vision – that all people in Australia achieve their best possible mental health.
Beyond Blue thanks official National Roadshow partners Medibank Community Fund and Lend Lease, media partners ABC Local Radio and Network Ten’s The Project, as well as the thousands of individuals and businesses from across Australia who have made donations or held fundraisers for Beyond Blue. The generous support of the Australian community is helping to make projects like the National Roadshow possible.