Sometimes all it takes it is a conversation.
A new project in Campbelltown NSW, Roma QLD, Brisbane QLD and Canberra ACT is going door-to-door talking with community members about their mental health and help link them with wellbeing services in their area.
With the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic still felt throughout Australia, the Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project is currently underway checking-in with locals.
“Unfortunately for many reasons people do not want to talk about or even think about their mental health,” says CEO of Community Mental Health Australia Bill Gye.
“People may prefer to tough it out, hide it from others, or avoid the stigma. ACDC is going directly to households in Australia to engage them in conversation about these important issues.”
The ACDC Project is not a team of typical door knockers. They make contact via friendly ‘People Connectors’ who let people know about the free services available and deliver an information pack with a fridge magnet and brochures. The services included in the information packs will look different for each area to ensure they are easily accessible and relevant to that community.
“Through the project householders will receive information about the local and online services available to help and support them. This means that people who may not have received help previously, and who would now like to, will be supported to do so,” says ACDC Project Manager James McKechnie.
The other aim of the ACDC Project is to gather feedback on any service gaps, so that improvements can be made by local, state, and federal governments.
For each of the 24 communities visited throughout Australia, the ACDC Project will generate data and information about the reasons why people do not access support from local services.
“The findings of the ACDC Project and evaluation report will contribute to important discussions about funding for community managed mental health services in Australia, and how the mental health support needs of people in communities are delivered moving forward,” says James McKechnie.
The project will evaluate how effective a proactive approach is in reaching, engaging, and resourcing people to connect with services.
“The ACDC Project aims to address a serious problem with mental health services in Australia. Often, people only look for or receive support when they are in crisis. We must be much more proactive in connecting and communicating with people about the importance of wellbeing. Prevention and early intervention is far more effective than dealing with people in crisis,” says Bill Gye.
The ACDC Project provides this important information to householders of all educational, cultural and language backgrounds to promote access to mental health, social and emotional wellbeing support. If the householder is not home a card is left in their letterbox with contact details so they can ask the People Connectors to come back.