Sometimes it only takes a conversation.
An innovative project which engages householders in conversations about mental health, wellbeing and support services in their area has started in Cumberland.
The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project is going door-to-door to check-in with householders, provide information and help people to connect to suitable supports if requested. The ACDC Project, run by Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), will also identify needs for and pathways to psychosocial and wellbeing supports in the community.
CMHA has partnered with PsychCentral to doorknock in the suburbs of Westmead, Wentworthville and South Wentworthville from August.
“Unfortunately for many reasons, people do not want to talk about or even think about their mental health and wellbeing,” says CEO of Community Mental Health Australia, Bill Gye.
“People may prefer to tough it out, hide it from others, or avoid the stigma. The ACDC Project is going directly to households in Australia to engage them in conversation about these important issues.”
The ACDC Project is not typical door-knocking as we know it. Contact is made via friendly ‘People Connectors’ who let householders know about free or low-cost services available in their area and deliver an information pack with a fridge magnet and brochure. The other aim of the ACDC Project is to gather feedback and collect data on any service gaps so that improvements can be made by local, state, and federal governments.
People Connector Sonia Tse, from PsychCentral is excited about meeting the people in the Cumberland community to offer support services.
“The ACDC Project truly stands out due to its innovative approach of conducting surveys at people’s doorsteps, ensuring that those with pressing and unmet needs are effectively reached. We are able to support these people by offering information about food security, social services, community programs, mental health support and more.”
For each of the communities visited throughout Australia, the ACDC Project will gather information about the reasons why people do not access psychosocial and wellbeing supports.
The findings of the ACDC Project will contribute to discussions about funding for psychosocial and wellbeing services in Australia, and how the support needs of people in communities are delivered.
Previous project data has shown how effective a proactive approach is in reaching, engaging, and resourcing people to connect with local services and supports.
“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 more proactive in connecting and communicating with people about the importance of wellbeing. Prevention and early intervention are far more effective than dealing with people in crisis,” says Bill Gye.
The ACDC Project provides important wellbeing information to householders of all educational, cultural and language backgrounds to promote access to psychosocial 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.
The ACDC Project is funded by the Department of Social Services.