KCCI Executive members Lachlan Brown (Pakaderinga), secretary Paula Greenwood, Jacqui Trace (Bill Hull Car Centre), Chrys McDuffie (Downer Mining) and David Musch (Ken Mills Toyota) with the new SMILE logo which is promoting the mental wellbeing initiative (Photo: KCCI)

June 14, 2021

The Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) will be launching their SMILE mental health program with an early-morning barbecue at the Kingaroy Town Hall on Friday (June 18).

SMILE stands for “Supporting Mental Wellbeing through Information, Leadership, Education”.

The business lobby group decided to take action due to the rising toll of suicide in the region, touching employers as well as the families involved.

A KCCI spokesperson said SMILE aims to ensure business owners and their employees understand the importance of mental wellbeing and can access help if required.

It is being run with the guidance of KCCI member Michael Sanford, from Bunyarra Counselling and Mediation.

“We are offering business owners and one additional staff member a free N.I.C.L. (Noticing, Inquiring, Connecting and Linking) group training session for KCCI members,” the KCCI spokesperson said.

“This program has been designed by Michael as an early intervention technique by Noticing, Inquiring, Connecting and Linking with people and will teach valuable skills to start a conversation with your staff and gauge if there could be any problems that are causing concern.

“You will then also have a contact through Bunyarra Counselling and Mediation that you can talk to or refer your staff/family member to, should you think it is necessary.

“The secret to reducing the impact of mental illness is early intervention, encouragement and support. We are devoted to making sure our SMILE program reduces the impact that mental illness can lead to.”

The guest speaker at the SMILE launch will be former NRL and international rugby league player David Shillington.

David is now CEO of Wellbeing Code, an organisation which aims to use the influence of elite athletes to destigmatise mental health issues.

According to the Wellbeing Code website, the group is “shifting the paradigm on how to view mental health by evoking a more proactive and holistic approach to wellness to achieve optimum performance and resilience”.

Videos by former Kingaroy sport stars Matt Ballin (NRL) and Berrick Barnes (Wallabies) will also be shown at the SMILE launch.

Rotary will be cooking the free breakfast thanks to donations from Sunpork Fresh Foods, The Little Butcher, Anderssons Fruit Market and Windmill Bakery.

Coffee will be available to buy from MJJ’s Mobile Coffee.

The morning will kick off at 6:30am.

It is being made possible from a grant from the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.

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