Rockhampton festival promoting good mental health

Good mental health will be on the menu when the 12th Taste of the World Festival comes to Rockhampton Showgrounds on Saturday May 7.

As well as showcasing a wide variety of world cultures such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Bangladesh, India and Iran, a mental wellness expo will be incorporated into this year’s event for the first time.

Multiple cultures will be celebrated at the Taste of the World Festival
Multiple cultures from about the globe will be celebrated at the Taste of the World Festival in Rockhampton on May 7.

It is an initiative of the CQ Community Collective, which is helping to teach the community about the importance of good mental health. The collective was devised by Carinity Education Rockhampton, partnering with local organisations such as mental health and suicide prevention group, selectability.

CQ Community Collective is delivering a series of wellness initiatives including the expo at Taste of the World and mental health wellness training, funded by a $66,000 grant from the Queensland Government Tackling Regional Adversity Through Integrated Care program. The funding scheme supports rural communities impacted by drought, disasters and crisis, with a strong emphasis on supporting people’s mental health needs.

“Understanding that a school is only strong as the community that surrounds it, this funding is a great way to provide extra support and be part of something to empower the families in our region,” Carinity Education Rockhampton Principal Lyn Harland said.

“Just like you should be able to enjoy food and culture, you should be able to easily access mental health support. Having a mental health expo work itself in with this popular cultural festival for the first time will help to reduce the stigma of accessing mental health services.”

The 12th running of Taste of the World Festival, which the Central Queensland Multicultural Association calls “a showcase of our region’s cultural diversity”, is expected to attract around 2,000 patrons.

Carinity Education Rockhampton’s resident therapy dog Maverick will appear at the Taste of the World Festival in Rockhampton on May 7
Carinity Education Rockhampton’s resident therapy dog Maverick will appear as part of mental wellness awareness element of the Taste of the World Festival.

“Taste of the World promotes the celebration of diversity of culture through song, dance and cooking – and recognising organisations and groups who contribute to our community and promote the sharing of knowledge and skills,” Central Queensland Multicultural Association President Dawn Hay said.

“The main purpose of the event is to connect people to people and learn through the experiences of others, whilst showcasing our individual talents, cultures and traditions.

“This year we are proud to provide stall sites at the festival, funded by the Queensland Government grant, so more than 30 organisations, agencies and groups can share with visitors what they have to offer community members, to assist them with their everyday life challenges.”

Taste of the World Festival will feature nine hours of family-friendly fun including cultural activities, food, live performances, children’s dress-up parade, lantern workshops, information booths, Master Chef first nations cooking demonstration, giant cockatoo visit, and the closing lantern parade.

Festivalgoers can also meet Maverick, Carinity Education Rockhampton’s dedicated therapy dog who Lyn says will “be giving comfort to anyone who wants a cuddle”.

Taste of the World Festival will be held at Rockhampton Showgrounds at New Exhibition Road, Wandal on May 7 from 10am to 7pm. Entry is $5 per person with children under 12 years free. For more information visit the festival website.

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