A new door-to-door mental health and wellbeing survey has found that 32% of all respondents wanted to seek help for their mental health in the last 12 months, however, 59% of these people did not get the care they needed. The primary reason for not seeking help was their preference to self-manage.
The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project’s People Connectors spoke with and offered information to 1038 householders in Hurstville, 194 of whom then completed a survey of their experiences with mental health and accessing support. Of the householders who completed the survey, 70% were born outside of Australia and 45% spoke a language other than English at home. The survey found that 63% of householders felt they would benefit from having more support for their mental health and wellbeing. Preferences for additional support included: talking to a professional, peer support and practical assistance.
Bill Gye, CEO of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), who manages the ACDC Project, says that the data for Hurstville may be indicative of stigma and taboo which is often associated with mental health.
“The fact that many people said they would rather self-manage as their first preference, while demonstrating a degree of self-sufficiency, could also indicate that a number of people, and often those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, still have a significant degree of shame and stigma around mental health,” said Mr Gye.
People Connectors from Stride Mental Health, who partnered with CMHA, went door-to-door between April 2022 and July 2022.
Lydia O’Connor, from Stride Mental Health and manager for the ACDC Project in Hurstville, says it was surprising how many locals still needed help to manage their mental health, which suggests people are not aware of the supports in the community or choosing not to seek external help.
“The benefit of this project was to see where the gaps are in the community. Our hope for Hurstville is an improvement in accessing mental health services and reducing stigma in culturally diverse communities,” said Ms O’Connor.
People Connectors spoke with householders about their mental health and wellbeing and distributed information about free support services available in their area.
The ACDC Project has been 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 at the beginning of next year.
The ACDC Project is funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS).
> For the Community Report from Hurstville CLICK HERE
For more information about the ACDC Project go to www.acdc.org.au