Macleay Island man Peter Ferreira brings up five years of helping people with mental illness as a Black Dog Institute presenter

MACLEAY Island man Peter Ferreira is helping remove the stigma attached to depression one community at a time.

TOP MAN: Peter Ferreira is helping people overcome their struggles on behalf of the Black Dog Institute.

TOP MAN: Peter Ferreira is helping people overcome their struggles on behalf of the Black Dog Institute.

Research shows almost half of all Australians will be affected by mental illness at some point in their life, but 65 per cent of people do not seek help.

Mr Ferreira is one of several Black Dog Institute volunteers trying to change this trend through community sessions aimed at building resilience and empowering people to overcome their struggles.

He has been a Break Down Depression presenter for five years and said it was a good way for him to give back to the community.

The sessions, which are free and run for 45 minutes, touch on topics like recognising symptoms and managing worrying and unhelpful thoughts.

"It's really rewarding to me when you see 'aha moments' in people's faces," Mr Ferreira said.

"I just want them to know that they can get help and with support they can get through whatever they are feeling.

"Life can be unpredictable but with the right tools to build resilience, people are empowered to manage their mental health."

Breaking Down Depression presentations provide information on understanding different types of mental illness, spotting and monitoring warning signs, knowing when professional help is needed and understanding treatment options.

More than 440 presentations have been delivered to different community groups across the country, including men's sheds, councils and sporting groups.

Sessions can be booked online at blackdoginstitute.org.au or by emailing community@blackdog.org.au.

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