Eidsvold Golden Bell Campdraft, a small community with a big spirit –

Ashlee Christensen is a valued member of the Eidsvold community; the small rural town is located in the North Burnett Region of Queensland. Ashlee reached out to us earlier this year after the town lost a very special person to mental illness. The heartbreak of this tragedy sparked the conversation around hosting their annual Eidsvold Golden Bell Campdraft in honour of this person. Raising funds for mental health awareness was another important consideration and RRMH was incredibly honoured to be the charity of choice.

Donations such as this give us the driving power to be a voice for those in rural areas and allow our programs and message to reach remote regions of Australia. Eager to know how the campdraft went, we touched base with Ashlee and she was kind enough to give us a run down on the three-day event (what camp drafting actually is!) and some background on the decision to donate to RRMH.

“The Eidsvold Campdraft was very successful, all three days ran smoothly and everyone involved was proud of our small committee’s effort. We had a great turn out of the general public and campdraft competitors,” said Ashlee.

“The aim as a competitor in a campdraft is to pick a beast out of a mob of cattle, successfully work the beast in the yard where a judge will give you a cut-out score. If done correctly the competitor will call for the gates of the yard to be opened. Once out on the course, you have to guide the beast around pegs in a figure-eight pattern and then through another set of pegs that is referred to as the gate. The judge will then score you on how fast, tight and how far you successfully get on the course.”

“We had a minute’s silence on the Saturday in memory of Peter Scholl and prior to this, our spokesman spoke about how important it is to have organisations like Rural and Remote Mental Health out there to help people in need. I feel it got people thinking and talking over the weekend about checking in on friends and family and making the extra effort to talk to people whether they knew them or not.”

“We had posters around the grounds to help start the conversation and promote Rural and Remote Mental Health. Our committee had black wristbands made with Rural and Remote Mental Health printed on them that we sold to fundraise money to donate to this meaningful organisation on behalf of Peter.”

“I think nearly everyone on the grounds had a black wristband, taking the time to approach people and discuss why we were fundraising and why it is important to talk about mental health definitely started the conversation amongst people and families.”

“The committee spoke to Peter’s wife, Rebecca, and asked her if she was comfortable with us doing something in memory of him. Rebecca mentioned Rural and Remote Mental Health was an important organisation to the family and felt a donation would be greatly appreciated.”

“Next year we plan to continue to support Rural and Remote Mental Health. Rebecca and the committee are going to have a Peter Scholl Memorial draft put on the campdraft program. I feel our community being so remote would benefit from an RRMH program or workshop to have a discussion about mental health.”

Suicide rates amongst men in rural communities is 2.5 greater than their male counterparts in large cities.  RRMH is committed to reducing this statistic which is people’s lives and many families who are affected. Stigma is a barrier and events like this can do so much to start a conversation and help someone you know.

“We need every opportunity to break down the stigma and encourage communities to create a safe space where people can express their emotions honestly and receive the support they need,” says Joe Hooper, RRMH Chief Executive.

“We at RRMH want to express our condolences to Peter’s wife, the family and the whole community.  Peter was clearly a much-loved community member who will be remembered through the memorial draft named in his honour. We cannot thank the Eidsvold Golden Bell Campdraft Committee enough for their contribution to help us tackle mental health in the bush.”