A new door-to-door mental health and wellbeing survey has found that householders from Cabramatta indicated that financial stress was the greatest concern in their own lives, as well as for their local community. Further, 14% of householders reported that not having enough food was a large challenge in their lives.

The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project’s People Connectors spoke with and offered information to nearly 928 householders in Cabramatta, 158 of whom then completed a survey of their experiences with mental health and accessing support.

The report found that 34% of people surveyed reported that they would benefit from additional supports. Notably, 83% of people who were in high or very high distress indicated that they would benefit from more mental health supports. Preferences for support included practical assistance, peer support and clinical supports.

Bill Gye, CEO of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), who manages the ACDC Project, said it was great to have had the opportunity to focus on a site with a strong Culturally and Linguistically Diverse community.
“While the mental health scores indicated considerable depression and anxiety, there was a diminished score in people seeking help and assistance. Of those that did, a significant number reported not getting the support they needed. Concerns about finances and other practical matters were high, but the data also indicated the need for more culturally appropriate mental health and wellbeing support services,” said Mr Gye.

People Connectors from Settlement Services International (SSI), who partnered with CMHA, went door-to-door between May and September 2022.

Margaret Brickwood, from SSI and manager for the ACDC Project in Cabramatta, says that accessibility to culturally appropriate services can be improved and will be beneficial to the community.

“The report shows a culturally diverse community with a significantly higher population of people facing high or very high levels of stress, which is almost double the national rate. The report also highlighted that people in levels of high or very high distress feel would benefit from greater support for their mental health. This means that people who need help are not necessarily getting or accessing it. It was surprising that 14% said they did not have enough food as an indicator of poverty, this shows the cost-of-living pressures currently facing the community.”

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 from the ACDC Project, along with recommendations for how the sector can better meet the needs of communities, is scheduled to be released in early 2023.

The ACDC Project is funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS).

> For the Community Report from the Cabramatta CLICK HERE

For more information about the ACDC Project go to www.acdc.org.au


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