Authors: David Quayle, VIC
Event: 2011 TheMHS Conference
Subject: COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Drought and hardship have impacted heavily on the mental health and wellbeing of people in rural Victoria. During the years 2003/04 the Swan Hill region of Victoria experienced an unprecedented number of suicides. Failed crops,inability to access sufficient water for agricultural practices and reduced demand for goods and services resulted in a community that was seriously disadvantaged. People on the land could not afford to repay the bank loans; properties were being repossessed; and families were struggling to afford basic necessities such as food and petrol. Some families experienced several consecutive years of very little income.Fast forward to 2011; what has happened to slow the suicide rate and create a better understanding and acceptance of mental illness? Swan Hill Rural City Council and key agencies in the community called a public meeting in response to growing concern about the suicide rate. 600 residents attended the meeting and agreed to the formation of the Healthy Minds Network, comprising of representatives from a range of community based agencies.
This network has been effective in:-
- Increasing the awareness of mental health services and support offered in the community.
- De-stigmatising mental illnesses such as depression.
- Establishing and promoting clear pathways to appropriate servcie.
The Healthy Minds concept is currently being adopted by other communities. Find out how the principles of Healthy Minds Network can be adapted to suit your program and services.