Mental health support for the community

The 'Navigate your mental health' bus with (l-r) Stephen Sedgwick (iiMetro), Anthony O'Hara (MIEACT), Alison Hall (MHCC ACT), Brooke Dyason (Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing, ACT Health) and Ciaran Bird (ACT Health).
The 'Navigate your mental health' bus with (l-r) Stephen Sedgwick (iiMetro), Anthony O'Hara (MIEACT), Alison Hall (MHCC ACT), Brooke Dyason (Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing, ACT Health) and Ciaran Bird (ACT Health).

Current statistics show that one in five Australians experience symptoms of mental health issues, and studies anticipate that this will increase to a quarter of all Australians through the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

This year for Mental Health Month (MHM) Mental Health Community Coalition ACT (MHCC ACT) placed a strong focus on supporting Canberrans through this crisis. With the theme of 'Conversations and Connections', the 2020 program for MHM brings community to the forefront.

There are over 30 events happening throughout October, run by community groups and organisations in the region. Additionally the Wellbeing Priori-Tea is a chance to host an event in your own community or workplace.

MHCC ACT executive officer, Simon Viereck, states, "At this time it is really important for everyone to connect with their peers and community and have those conversations about the stress we are all experiencing, and what each of us are doing to stay well and resilient, it's a great way to support each other."

Mental Health Month ACT is coordinated by the MHCC ACT in partnership with ACT Health and the Mental Health Month advisory committee.

Mental Health Month supports the positive mental health of Canberrans by raising awareness of the community mental health services available, and continuing to address the stigma of mental illness.

"Our goal throughout Mental Health Month is to help people find the support they need and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. We want a Canberra where all people feel free and able to reach out, ask for help and support those in the community who suffer in silence," Mr Viereck said.

One way in which this is addressed in 2020 is through a series of ongoing resources designed to help the general public navigate their mental health. Spearheaded by a TCCS sponsored Bus advertising campaign encouraging you to 'Navigate your mental health', these resources will be launched throughout October 2020, and available on the MHM ACT website.

A video interview series conducted with community mental health providers from the region explores what services are available, how to access them, and the positive outcomes they can have. This series forms the MHM 2020 Launch event, and will be live streamed via MHM's Facebook at 10am on October 10 to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

With 'information sharing' being the key objective for these resources, the video series will be complemented by a digital directory of sorts, the 'Wellbeing Resource Pack'. A key component of the 'Wellbeing Priori-Tea' events, this pack guides audiences through conversation starters, local community mental health providers, national mental health initiatives and an inclusive list of crisis hotlines.

To find out more or to locate the resources head to mentalhealthmonthact.org

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