By Matthew Pearce
More than 600 people donned their best attire on Saturday, 9 October to raise mental health awareness at the Black Dog Ball.
Described by organisers as Central Queensland’s premier event, the ball aims to remove the stigma surrounding depression and mental health issues in regional Queensland.
Vicki Standen, who is part of the Black Dog Ball Committee along with Tracey Watt and Natasha Price, said the annual event was started in 2013 by a group of friends that had all been touched by the ‘Black Dog’.
“We all had our own experiences with mental health, whether it is family member or friend and understood just how serious it is,” she said.
“Since then it has just evolved and grown and we have such an incredible following as well as amazing sponsors that make it all possible.”
About 620 people attended this year’s event at Victoria Park in Huish Drive, which Vicki said was ‘a really great number for us’.
“The response to the event is overwhelming, it’s always a sellout and we are just blown away by the effort that people go to when they attend,” she said.
“It’s incredible everyone so dressed up beautifully.”
Since 2013 over $260,000 has been raised for mental health initiatives within the Central Queensland area, with past beneficiaries including Access Recreation, Carinity, Headspace, Anglicare, Mates in Construction and Carers Australia Qld.
This year’s beneficiaries are CQ Healthy Families and Project Booyah.
“CQ Healthy Families provides much needed mental health support for victims of domestic and family violence, while Project Booyah works with at risk youths in our community,” Vicki said.
“We have supported Project Booyah in the past and we had some their success stories assisting on the night, it was amazing.
“CQ Healthy Families has projects that they will run from the proceeds of the ball. You don’t appreciate the mental anguish the people that they help are going through.”
One of the Black Dog Ball’s major fundraisers for 2021 is an online raffle. Tickets are $25 for the chance to win a $5000 holiday voucher.
The raffle will be drawn Monday, 18 October and the winner will be notified on the day. You can still enter the raffle by visiting the Black Dog Ball Facebook page.
This year’s Black Dog Ball Gold Sponsor is Smyth Financial. Silver Sponsors are FM Studios and Highpoint Access and Highpoint Access and Rescue.
If you require assistance, message CQ Healthy Families on their Facebook page.
For further information on Project Booyah or referrals go to https://projectbooyah.com.au