Manilla resident's goal to keep town smiling through health crisis
One Manilla resident knows all too well the damage coronavirus has had on people's lives, but he refuses to let it get to him.
Working in the hospitality industry, Allan Murison, 21, has been temporarily stood down from his role following the federal government introducing strict rules for trading.
However, looking outside his own life, Allan found a way he could make a difference.
"Over the past couple of days, I have noticed people are feeling down and don't have that community encouragement, so they are having trouble reaching out," he said.
"I thought I would encourage people to connect and keep each other going by posting what they are doing the day, how they are isolating, and what they are feeling.
"It is to help the community survive."
Allan said raising awareness about mental health is a cause close to his heart,
"I suffer from it now and then, and I can have really dark days," he said.
"What helps is the community involvement; asking me how I am, posting something funny and lending a hand."
Allan said the Isolating in Manilla NSW social media group has taken off, with residents sharing positive feedback.
He added that he is trying to make sure the town retains its incredible sense of mateship despite social distancing.
"Working in the hospitality environment in manilla I see everyone's passion for commitment," Allan said.
"I see the best of Manilla through that lens, and when I saw everything was being shut down, I thought 'how can we make sure everyone is doing OK'.
"At the end of the day, we are all in this together."
Allan said shortly he would look at starting Netflix parties, where people can join in on the same stream and watch the same film while commenting on the side ina message thread.
"With this group, I can see if people are interested and if they have the utilities to do it so I can get those first steps going," he said.
Allan encouraged others to take initiatives to keep smiles on faces.
"Start small," he said. "It doesn't have to be starting a group, it could be just ringing up someone and seeing how they are going or even posting something funny on Facebook."
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