THE Hervey Bay and District Tennis Association courts in Torquay will look a little different this weekend.
Dozens of locals will take to the courts in fancy dress for the Fraser Coast Mates Tennis Challenge on Friday, March 12.
Festivities get underway at the Colyton Street courts around 4pm.
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Fraser Coast Mates President Darren Bosley said the event was already sold out, with 16 teams participating.
“The response has been great, we’re full but we are still encouraging spectators to come down and support the event,” Mr Bosley said.
Other than the fancy dress tennis on display, there will also be raffles and a sausage sizzle to help fundraising efforts.
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Mr Bosley said he expected to see a lot of tennis players rocking headbands, high socks and bright retro clothing.
“It’s a night where people can come together and help fundraise for the Fraser Coast Mates. It’s also an opportunity where the community can come together and talk amongst each other,” Mr Bosley continued.
Talking is a common theme among Fraser Coast Mates members.
Mr Bosley said helping people open up about their hardships or difficulties was one of the strategies Fraser Coast Mates embraced to make progress when it comes to suicide prevention.
“Once a person speaks up, they’re on the road to recovery. We can then help them by getting them in touch with the necessary services and get them in front of a counsellor as soon as possible,” he said.
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As the name suggests, Fraser Coast Mates offers people who might be struggling with mental health issues a sense of mateship.
“Creating trust is so important when it comes to mental health.”
Wide Bay Mental Health Services will also have a booth at the tennis evening to help people who might be looking for more information on related issues.
Mr Bosley said everyone needs to learn about suicide prevention and mental health issues.
“If someone comes to you and opens up. They tell you they’re not coping and need help; how are you going to respond?”
“You need to be able to say to them, I will help you through this and I will help you find help,” Mr Bosley said.
Fraser Coast Mates has been building awareness and encouraging conversations around mental health issues in the region for around five years.
The organisation will also host its annual golf day on June 25 at the Hervey Bay Golf Course.
You can find more information on Fraser Coast Mates and the work they do on their website and Facebook.