A new door-to-door mental health and wellbeing survey has found that nearly half of all respondents surveyed (47%) wanted to seek help for their mental health in the last 12 months, however, 51% of these people did not get the care they needed. The primary reason for not receiving help was due to there being no available services.

The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project’s People Connectors spoke with and offered information to 458 householders in Palmerston, 162 of whom then completed a survey of their experiences with mental health and accessing support.

The survey found that financial stress (63%) was the primary concern for people in Palmerston. Harm from alcohol and other drugs, housing, safety, and employment were other large community concerns.

When asked about what supports they needed, Palmerston respondents’ preference for clinical supports was relatively low compared to their need for peer support, practical assistance, and an alternative to hospitals.

Bill Gye, CEO of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), who manages the ACDC Project, says that the data for Palmerston is distinctively alarming compared to other ACDC Project sites.

“The data for Palmerston is concerning. Compared to the other 20 sites across Australia, where we have run the ACDC Project, Palmerston residents have expressed the highest level of concern for a range of challenges they face in their community. They also have the highest score for a measure indicating depression and emotional distress,” said Mr Gye.

People Connectors from Top End Mental Health Consumer Organisation (TEMHCO), who partnered with CMHA, went door to door between April 2022 and July 2022.

Wendy Riley, from TEMHCO and manager for the ACDC Project in Palmerston, says that the survey results suggest that COVID-19 has impacted the Palmerston community’s mental wellbeing and people feel disconnected from supports.

“The report shows that people living in the Palmerston region are isolated and lonely, and do not know where to seek support. Because of the impacts of COVID-19, depression and anxiety are also quite high.”

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 in the beginning of next year.

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

> For the Community Report from Palmerston CLICK HERE

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


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