The City of Greater Bendigo is pleased to announce Alannah McGregor as the Citizen of the Year and Jed Zimmer as the Young Citizen of the Year.
Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said the pair had been recognised for their leadership in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of others.
“We are delighted to honour Alannah and Jed as a way of acknowledging their inclusive approach and support for our community to understand and manage their mental wellbeing,” Cr Metcalf said.
“Alannah jointly started the Suicide Prevention and Awareness Network in Bendigo following the loss of a son and daughter to suicide. Over the past 19 years, she has volunteered tirelessly to inspire others to prevent them from experiencing the same loss and to remove the stigma attached to suicide.
“Alannah is truly courageous and as a community we owe her a great debt for the way she has been able to take this personal tragedy and help countless individuals and families and save lives.
“Jed has found a niche in helping people of all abilities, but particularly young men, learn to look after their mental health and wellbeing. Working with headspace Bendigo, he implements mental health strategies, liaises between health practitioners and stakeholders, holds seminars focused on mental health and wellbeing, and raises awareness through fundraising.
“He is also a committee member for the Bendigo-based Football Integration Development Association, which supports players with an intellectual impairment, and hosts a podcast called The Health Project. Jed is described as caring and authentic, and believes every day is a good day to ask ‘Are you ok?’.
“The City is thrilled to congratulate Alannah and Jed on receiving our community’s top honour and we look forward to them using their new platform to continue to promote the all-important mental health message.”
About Alannah McGregor
Alannah jointly started SPAN Central Victoria in 2011, with the support of Rod Case and Bette Phillips, with the aim of increasing community awareness about the incidence and impact of suicide, and encourage the community to acknowledge and discuss the issue.
Alannah’s focus is on demystifying what is often a hidden issue in society and share advice on prevention and wellbeing, and to look out for each other.
Workplace bullying lead to the deaths of Alannah’s children, and she initially started raising awareness through a short DVD she sent to workplaces to help educate employers and employees.
Each year SPAN Central Victoria holds a Suicide Prevention and Awareness walk and in 2019 received grant funding to hold Safe Talk seminars for workplaces and in the community.
Last year Alannah was also the inaugural recipient of the Fred Hollow’s Foundation Humanitarian of the Year award, which celebrates everyday people who care for others.
About Jed Zimmer
You may recognise the name Jed Zimmer from his efforts last year to raise $20,000 for headspace Bendigo through a push-up challenge that invited the community to complete 3,318 push-ups over 25 days, highlighting the 3,318 people who died by suicide in Australia in 2019.
Jed is a member of headspace Bendigo’s Youth Reference Group, which focuses on improving mental health among Bendigo’s young people.
The 23-year-old is also the founder of ‘The Health Project’ podcast, which shares how we can improve our health, happiness and fitness with the help of science, he presents mental health workshops in secondary schools, and supports people with a diverse range of disabilities to access care and engage in sport.
He is studying a Bachelor of Secondary Education at La Trobe University Bendigo, majoring in Physical Education and Health Education.
Jed’s message to other young people is to always seek help and to know that things will get better.
Need to talk to someone?
- Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Beyond Blue’s coronavirus support service: 1800 512 348 or coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au
- Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au