The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change are the top concerns for individuals in Bendigo, a new door-to-door mental health and wellbeing survey has found.
The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project spoke with and offered information to over 500 householders in North Bendigo and White Hills, 345 of whom then completed a survey of their experiences with mental health and accessing support.
The report of the survey has found that nearly half of householders said that they had wanted to seek help for their mental health in the last 12 months.
Bill Gye, CEO of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), who manages the ACDC Project, says the findings for Bendigo reflect the impact of the pandemic in Victoria.
“Like the Macedon Ranges – our other Victorian survey area – people in Bendigo also put COVID-19 as the number one issue they believe is affecting the mental health and wellbeing of their community. This contrasts with other survey locations in other states.”
“I would also highlight that the top three things that householders in Bendigo felt they would benefit from for their mental health and wellbeing were talking to a professional, peer support and an alternative to hospitals,” said Mr Gye.
People Connectors from Stride Mental Health, who partnered with CMHA, went door to door between November 2021 and February 2022.
Belinda Pearson, from Stride and manager for the ACDC Project in Bendigo, hopes the survey results are the key to getting more funding into areas that need it.
“Regional areas tend to miss these funding opportunities. I also think the project should be extended further in Bendigo to reach more people. In the areas we door knocked we had culturally diverse householders that wanted us to go and see their families and friends in other suburbs.”
People Connectors spoke with householders about their mental health and wellbeing and distributed information about the free support services available in their area.
The ACDC Project is being implemented in communities across all states and territories of Australia to improve wellbeing and collect important data with the assistance of the Centre for Social Impact.
The final report of the ACDC Project, along with recommendations for how the sector can better meet the needs of communities, is scheduled to be released in late 2022.
The ACDC Project is funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS).
> For the full findings and Community Report from Bendigo CLICK HERE
For more information about the ACDC Project go to www.acdc.org.au