Finding Stability

June 08, 2020

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DJ Benjamin 'Walshy' Walsh with his dog Jake (photo courtesy of The Islander).

“Music connects people.”

With this in mind, Benjamin “Walshy” Walsh makes it his business to bring music to the people.

As a Junction volunteer and Director of Kangaroo Island Event Management, he has been the force behind some of KI’s largest musical events – including a live music concert held in late February, to raise money for those affected by the bushfires.

“I think at the time, with everything that was going on, it was really important to do,” Walshy said. “It was the first band event in our local town hall in a decade, and it was for a good cause.”

Walshy also shares a passion for his craft, having taught children how to DJ among many of his volunteer roles.

“I helped raise funds – and that, along with donations from the community, helped us build a stage in the Kangaroo Island Community Centre,” he said. “We got new power leads, even DJ decks for the kids. It’s really great.”

Making Walshy’s work even more admirable is that he has battled his own personal demons. Managing his mental health has been a challenge for him.

“As someone who has recently been diagnosed with bipolar, it’s something I’m still learning to deal with,” he said. “Although I’m currently not able to work, I try to volunteer when I can. It’s good for me I think."

After previously being supported in Junction’s emergency accommodation, Walshy now lives in his own unit, which he’s also set up with some help from Junction.

“At times, you need a bit of a kick-start,” he said. “It’s important for people to know that there is someone you can go to, to get the support that you need.

“Junction’s assistance during the moving process really helped me. It took a lot of the pressure off. With my disorder, I needed that. I’m really grateful.”

Now determined to make the most of his new home, Walshy has since installed a pond, solar panels and started growing his own produce.

He admits a lot of this work is for the benefit of his 11-year-old border collie Jake, a constant and loyal companion.

“I moved back to KI because the weather here is better for a Border Collie like Jake,” he said. “He’s really good with people who have anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. He can sense it in you and go for cuddles. You talk to him like a human, he listens really well.”

Jake has also become somewhat of a celebrity on the Island.

“People love him, they all know him,” Walshy said.

Having found stability, Walshy now looks forward to future projects.

“Now that I’m grounded, I’d like to get more back into volunteering. I know the kids want to hold an event in the youth space so I’d be excited to help organize that,” he said.

“I’m also tinkering with an old bus, which I’m converting into a motor home. It’s got a bit of a history – it was used to cart people around during the Sydney Olympics!”

Having recently obtained his Mental Health First Aid Certificate, he also hopes to help others who are experiencing similar battles with mental health.

“I just want to help where I can. Having someone to talk to, who really understands – that’s important.”

Having recently obtained his Mental Health First Aid Certificate, he also hopes to help others who are experiencing similar battles with mental health.

“I just want to help where I can. Having someone to talk to, who really understands – that’s important.”