Register your event here, it is the first step in promoting your event to others during Mental Health Month.
It also lets the world know that you and your organisation value mental health and well being.
Flourish Australia’s annual Brushes with Life art exhibition is back to lead local Mental Health Month celebrations in 2017.
The exhibition will open at 5.30pm on Friday, October 6 on the corner of Victoria and Commerce Street in Taree.
The exhibition will remain on display until International Mental Health Day, on Tuesday, October 10. READ MORE
Community groups and individuals from across New South Wales have been recognised for their efforts promoting mental health and wellness programs in their local communities, for the 2017 Mental Health Matters Awards.
This year’s award winners were announced on Thursday 28th September during a lunch marking the official launch of Mental Health Month, held in New South Wales Parliament House.
Today’s winners are at the forefront of making a difference to the lives of people living with a mental illness, and we must continue to work together to give the best possible care to people who need it most.”
Hon Tanya Davies MP
Clarence Youth Action is an inclusive and diverse group who meet regularly to make decisions that relate to young people, work on community projects, organise events and participate in forums. They provide a platform that encourages greater participation by young people in a range of community initiatives. Membership benefits young people by giving them the opportunity to develop skills they can use throughout their lives, such as leadership and decision making skills, working collaboratively, developing creative ideas and undertaking projects that benefit young people and the broader community.
Act-Belong-Commit (ABC) is a thriving campaign developed by Curtin University and has been successfully adopted by Anson St School – an educational workplace involved in the Mentally Healthy Orange initiative. The purpose of the ABC project is for communities to be proactive and positive about their approach to mental health and wellbeing. In the school setting, it has been about being active, keeping up connections with others and engaging in activities that provide purpose in life, to protect and enhance the mental health of school community members. Implemented as a whole school initiative, ABC has shown exceptional results including a greater sense of community, giving opportunities for parents to engage meaningfully within the school and addressing the increased prevalence of mental health concerns in young people
Produced by the award-winning Princess Pictures, My Year 12 Life is a raw television series which follows the journey of fourteen teenagers in their final year of school. Introducing audiences to a new form of story-telling, these students share their lives, feelings and insights through personally-captured footage. Packed with emotion, hilarity, heartbreak and suspense, the resulting series reminds us of how pivotal Year 12 is and what the future looks like at 18. It highlights parental, cultural and school pressures; body image; stress and anxiety; and school and social life balance. Given its relevance and relatability, the series has aired on a number of Australian channels and remarkably made available to all schools with an episode-by-episode study guide.
The Grow Group Program is a weekly meeting initiative organised by Grow NSW which creates a welcoming space for individuals experiencing mental illness, to support one another through their journeys of recovery and the achievement of personal goals. Complementary to clinical interventions, Grow Groups aim to change thinking and behaviour by offering strategies on how to deal with an emotional crisis, manage feelings, think by reason, take responsibility for one’s actions, but also, realise personal worth and improve relationships. This is delivered through peer support, group discussions, social outings, training interactions and literature readings developed by members. Currently, Grow has achieved astounding results, delivering over 180 Grow Groups and having over 2,500 people attend groups on a regular basis.
For the last ten years, Peter Heggie has lived experience as a carer looking after his wife who lives with mental illness. Currently, Peter is the Carers Australia representative to the National Mental Health Consumer Carer Forum (NMHCCF). Peter has exhibited exceptional skills in networking and identifying connections that can strengthen the work of mental health in the community. Some of his achievements have included creating an NDIS Carer Statement currently endorsed by the NDIA and promoting stronger linkages between the Primary and Local Health Districts and community-based organisations. Peter believes that maintaining a strong recovery orientation in mental health care is vital, as well as the recognition of peers in the co-design and development of programs.
Positive Choices is a national drug prevention portal expanding the scope and reach of evidence-based drug prevention across Australian schools. Developed in close consultation and collaboration with teachers, parents and students, this notable portal provides centralised access to a comprehensive range of drug prevention resources, all of which meet the Positive Choices criteria for relevance, quality and evidence basis. Providing users with a wealth of information, these include fact sheets, games, videos and resources that can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans which align with the Australian Curriculum. Overall, this cost-free portal, which has been accessed nationally and internationally by over 63,000 users, has equipped many parents, school leaders and staff to respond more effectively to the prominent issue of substance use.
Recognised Australia wide for mental health awareness and education, Mind Blank Ltd is a grassroots organisation delivering the highly interactive Sub-Conscious Understanding for Better Awareness (SCUBA) Initiative. Touring to high schools and service providers all over NSW, SCUBA delivers workshop-style performances showcasing “worse-case” mental health scenarios to young people. Ingenious in its approach, the cast replays scenes after inviting the audience to provide suggestions on how certain scenarios can be resolved. This allows viewers to learn about the protagonist’s life and their opportunities for seeking help in the performance. Overall SCUBA aims to increase the number of young people practising self-care and encourage help seeking behaviour, in the efforts to reduce the risk of youth suicide across the nation.
Awarded accreditation as an Evidence Based Program for the Federal Government’s Institute of Family Studies in 2015, KidsXpress is an innovative, transdisciplinary approach to early intervention trauma therapy. Uniquely combining different forms of expressive therapy including music, art, drama, dance and play, this outreach program has been delivered across 21 schools throughout Inner and Western Sydney, reaching over 350 children in need. Led by expert therapists, this approach to trauma-informed care has created safe and nurturing environments where children can use creative expression as tools to explore and better understand themselves, their past experiences and the complex emotions they’re currently experiencing. Fundamentally, KidsXpress has aimed to equip children with life-long resilience and coping strategies, preventing their current challenges from persisting into adulthood.
In collaboration with Mental Health First Aid Australia, THRI have tailored a training course to educate community-based workers on how to provide initial help to individuals from an Iraqi background experiencing PTSD and depression related crises. Using the highly successful Mental Health First Aid training model, this tailored Mental Health Literacy Course was delivered to 86 participants from several NSW based organisations. Given its adapted approach, the intervention has been highly effective, helping trainees improve their recognition of PTSD, reduce their negative attitudes towards PTSD and depression related problems, change beliefs regarding treatment to align with those of mental health professionals, and improving confidence when helping Iraqi refugees. Additional guidelines have also been developed to further assist work with this cultural group.
Weave Youth & Community Services (Weave) is at the forefront in providing casework, counselling, social activities, creative arts and community development projects to socially excluded young individuals in Sydney, including those from the local Aboriginal Community. In 2016, Weave undertook the “Stories of Lived Experience” project which aimed to improve the outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous service users experiencing severe and persistent mental illness and their carers. Taking the form of a thought-provoking documentary film and photography exhibition, the project uniquely captures individuals’ lived experience of therapeutic relationships and service delivery. These insightful stories essentially helped build an understanding of how the mental health sector can better support the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal communities.
Connecting with others is important for our health and survival. Research tells us that feeling connected, valued and loved by others gives us a sense of security, support, purpose and happiness. Close connections and good relationships with others allows us to enjoy the good times in our lives and helps us deal with the hard experiences we face. This is important for all of us! Unfortunately in today’s society, we have many demands on our attention and time, and more people experience loneliness in Australia than ever before. For those experiencing or living with mental illness, loneliness can be far worse as individuals can face social exclusion, stigma and discrimination. As social beings, this can affect all aspects of our wellbeing.
To help encourage people to connect with others, the theme for Mental Health Month 2017 is:
This theme focuses on the importance of social connections in:
The 2016 Mental Health Matters Awards were presented at NSW Parliament House on September 29th, at the launch of Mental Health Month.
The NSW Community Champion Award went to Barry Taylor for his role in developing the South Western Sydney Local Health District Wellbeing Collaboration and the Five Ways to Wellbeing initiative.
The South Western Sydney Wellbeing Collaboration is about local councils and community groups across the area working together to address issues like anxiety, depression and suicide and help improve the general wellbeing of the community. The Five Ways to Wellbeing initiative is a five-point strategy that underpins the collaboration - Connect, Give, Keep Learning, Be Active and Take Notice.
The Centre for Emotional Health (CEH) is a Macquarie University Research Centre focused on the understanding, prevention and treatment of emotional health problems in children, adolescents and adults. Their vision is “ to build an emotionally healthy community through science and practice”. The psychologists at the centre use a combination of theoretical research and practical application and it has resulted in several ‘world-first’ findings. Some of their areas of treatment include anxiety, autism, depression and social anxiety.
Psychogeriatric SOS is a web conferencing clinician-to-clinician service run by St Vincent’s Hospital Psychogeriatric Mental Health and Dementia Service that allows clinicians practicing in rural areas to access resources and training that they would otherwise struggle to access. The project has made many successful improvements to the quality of mental health services for rural-dwelling older people in areas, resulting in higher diagnostic accuracy, increased clinician confidence, better patient outcomes and less referrals to specialists.
Watch their video below to see why it is such a successful program.
SistaSpeak and BroSpeak are 10-week programs for indigenous students run during the school term. The programs consist of guest presenters from local organisations and businesses coming in and talking about various social issues likely to impact the students’ lives, such as drug and alcohol abuse, body image, domestic violence and dealing with grief and loss. The program also has a cultural component to it, allowing the students to reconnect with Aboriginal culture as well as learn important life skills. At the end of the program, they hold a formal graduation ceremony for the students who have completed it. The programs have received “universally positive” feedback from everyone involved, from the students themselves to parents, teachers and the presenters.
Watch their video below to see why it is such a successful program.
Healthy Minds is a workplace wellbeing program implemented by Optus, with the aim of creating a psychologically healthy workplace as well as reducing the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and encouraging early support and intervention. It consists of a range of health services such as GPs, nutritionists and psychologists available both onsite and via phone and web chat, as well as regular wellbeing initiatives like heart health checks, flu vaccinations and positive psychology workshops.
‘Meet Jessica’ is an animated short film designed to raise awareness around the mental health of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, who experience high rates of severe emotional and behavioural problems. The film was a collaboration between NSW Health, disability and educational sectors, and was released in conjunction with a ‘train the trainer’ workshop which was run in 28 locations across NSW. Both the film and the workshops have contributed to a much-needed conversation around adjustments that can be made in schools to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.
Western Sydney University’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Student Ambassador Program (SAP) adopts a student-led approach towards mental health and general wellbeing in a university environment, with the goal of reducing stigma and raising awareness about positive mental health. Not only do the students involved in the program gain valuable experience, but the program also gives other students who may be struggling with these issues positive role models that they can relate to, and go to for help when they need it.
Watch their winner's video below
The Filling the Hawkesbury Gap project was created to identify gaps in the mental health services available to people in the Hawkesbury region. The project consisted of contacting clients who had reported mental health concerns to the Emergency Department and ensuring that they received appropriate follow up care after their discharge, rather than waiting for these clients to get to a point where they need emergency services again. Overall, the clients’ feedback about the follow up care they received was positive.
In 2013, bicultural psychologist Hend Saab developed the Arabic Mindfulness CD to help some of her Arabic-speaking clients, particularly those suffering from anxiety disorders. Together with a team of researchers, she conducted a study to test out the CD’s clinical effectiveness and cultural acceptability in the Arabic-speaking community in the St George area. The study consisted of 70 participants from Arabic backgrounds, all of whom identified as being Muslim or Christian, who were asked to listen to a couple of tracks from the CD every week and provide feedback about how they felt afterwards. On average, the results showed “statistically significant improvements” in the participants’ mental health levels after listening to the CD, and 94% of them continued to practice mindfulness after the study ended.
'Luca's Legacy' was a story that appeared on Channel 10's 'The Project', featuring an interview with Julia Trinne, a woman whose 4-year old son Luca was killed by her husband Dave during a psychotic episode. Dave had been battling bipolar disorder but was otherwise described as a loving husband and father. The story was led by field producer Kate Mellis, with Carrie Bickmore performing the interview with Julie. Not only does the story honour Luca's memory, but it also raises awareness around mental illness and the resources available to treat it.
The Mental Health Coordinating Council is the peak body for non-government mental health organisations, and their vision is that "people with lived experience are the drivers of positive change in all mental health services and mental health reforms." One of the ways that they have helped realise this vision is through the creation of a Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, which was developed through close consultation with both consumers and carers in the mental health industry.
Created by Professor Richard Fleming from the University of Wollongong, the aim of the Environmental Design Education Service is to give older people a better quality of life. The service brought together clinicians, architects, town planners as well as consumers to help design new spaces like aged care facilities, as well as updating existing spaces such as shopping centres and airports to make them more older-people friendly. The program uses a combination of handbooks, workshops, consultancy and even a smartphone app to evaluate existing buildings as help with planning new developments.
Join our expert panel, including leading psychiatrist Dr Mark Cross, representatives from the Butterfly Foundation, carers and consumers such as award winning author Fiona Wright in a lively, informative discussion about this common and very serious issue.
Presented by WayAhead
Monday 31st October – 5:30pm
Collective Purpose, Level 5, 80 William St Wooloomooloo
This event is free, however, it is limited to 80 guests so please RSVP