Media release: The ACDC Project goes door-to-door in Dandenong

Sometimes it only takes a conversation.

A new project in Dandenong engages householders in conversations about mental health to help link them
with wellbeing services in their area.

The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) project is going door -to-door to check in with
householders. The ACDC Project, run by Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), is visiting different
locations in Australia to improve community mental health and wellbeing and collect important data.

CMHA is working with the Dandenong Community Learning Centre to doorknock in Dandenong and Dandenong
North from May.

“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. 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 doorknocking as we know it. Contact is made via friendly ‘People Connectors’
who let householders know about the free or low-cost services available in their area and deliver an
information pack with a fridge magnet and brochure.

Dandenong Community Learning Centre General Manager, Merina Ashdown, is excited to run the project
knowing her team can make a difference to the Dandenong Community.

“The ACDC Project will support and empower the community to reach out and access mental health support
services in the local area. It will help them to be self-sufficient,” she says.

The local services included in the information packs are easily accessible and relevant to the Dandenong

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.

People Connector David Kuol says the people of Dandenong facing challenges at the moment.

“Maybe the reason for high levels of homelessness is that there is not enough social and affordable housing in

For each of the 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 evaluation report will contribute to discussions about funding for communitymanaged
mental health services in Australia, and how the mental health 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 mental health, and 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.

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

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