A new door-to-door mental health and wellbeing survey in Mareeba has found that 46% of the householders indicated that they wanted to seek help for their mental health in the past 12 months. 44% of these householders said they did not get the help they needed. Survey responses suggest a significant proportion of people prefer to self-manage or are facing barriers that prevent them from reaching out to services. These barriers include fear/embarrassment/shame, costs associated with support, or feeling unsure about where to go for help.

The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project spoke with and offered information to 1013 householders in Mareeba, 362 of whom then completed a survey of their experiences with mental health and accessing services in their community.

Householders most frequently reported that safety was the primary concern for the people in Mareeba. Alcohol and drugs, housing, and financial stress were other significant issues within the local community. Bill Gye, CEO of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), who manages the ACDC Project, says the findings for Mareeba indicate a lack of digital infrastructure which can have implications on how people access mental health supports.

“The disadvantage around lack of digital infrastructure is one of the highest we have found in the country, meaning that for many people online mental health supports are not a useful option,” said Mr Gye.

People Connectors from Mareeba Community Centre, who partnered with CMHA, went door to door between February 2022 and May 2022.

Ashlee Ellis, from Mareeba Community Centre and manager for the ACDC Project in Mareeba, says that proactive outreach was effective in gaining an insight into community needs and she hopes that the information gained through the survey can be used in future strategic planning.

“This survey and the ability to door knock and speak to our community has been a fantastic learning and allowed us a real view into people’s needs. I would hope this information can be used by us and other organisations to strategically plan to meet evidenced need.”

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

> For the full findings and Community Report from Mareeba CLICK HERE


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