Grants for mental health initiatives in rural Australia

Grain Central July 12, 2019

A POOL of $100,000 is available to support projects that improve mental health in rural, regional and remote communities Australia-wide through the In a Good Place grants program, co-designed by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and CCI Giving.

(Image: The Conversation)

In A Good Place is the centrepiece of a five-year partnership between CCI Giving and FRRR. It is based on a shared belief in the value and importance of rural regional and remote communities and a commitment to strengthening mental health and wellbeing within those communities.

Grants up to $20,000 are available for community-driven initiatives that reduce social isolation, increase social participation and connectedness, and increase help-seeking for people within rural, regional and remote communities who are at risk of, or are experiencing mental health issues.

For people living in rural, regional and remote Australia, getting mental health support is more complex compared to metropolitan areas:

  • There is a higher suicide rate, especially in men and Indigenous people, despite the prevalence of poor mental health being around the same as in urban areas;
  • Mental health services and specialists may only be available a considerable distance away, or have long waiting lists; and
  • People being unwilling or unable to seek help due to a culture of self-reliance, fear of the stigma associated with neighbours knowing you’ve been seeking help, or not knowing where to get help.

FRRR chief executive officer, Natalie Egleton, said investing in mental health in rural, regional and remote communities was not only critical, it had broader benefits.

“It’s vital that people living in rural, remote and regional Australia have access to the appropriate treatment to improve their mental health – where and when they need it,” Ms Egleton said.

“Building strong, resilient rural communities is an important investment. FRRR has delivered over $12 million in small grants to communities Australia-wide, across more than 1,500 projects that were specifically designed to assist communities in addressing mental health or wellbeing challenges. We are pleased to see this investment continue through the In A Good Place grants program, as we know it has flow-on impacts. According to the National Mental Health Commission, the cost of mental ill-health in Australia is more the $60 billion each year.

“Research shows that by improving mental health, there is increased community resilience and social connectedness, leading to increased productivity, economic participation, and employment.”

CCI chief executive officer and CCI Giving director, Roberto Scenna, said the benefits of interventions put in place by the In A Good Place program could be broad and long-lasting.

“Better mental health can enhance personal relationships with family and friends, and we know that people are more likely to participate more broadly in their community. So, as people develop better networks, there is a positive loop of reinforcement.

“There have been some wonderful projects funded by the In A Good Place program to date, and we look forward to hearing about stronger, and more resilient communities into the future.”

Applications are invited from organisations delivering inclusive, responsive and local solutions endeavouring to enhance people’s mental health and build social connections.

Applications close 13 August 2019. Further information on the guidelines are available on the In a Good Place web page.

FRRR expects this will be a highly competitive program and strongly recommends potential applicants contact FRRR to discuss the suitability of their project before applying. Priority will be given to initiatives that:

  1. Are delivered via non-clinical first providers of mental health care, such as school counsellors and teachers, members of the clergy or pastoral care teams, neighbourhood or community groups, or via technological or other innovative methods;
  2. Improve accessibility and availability of mental health services, tools or support to areas with limited or no access to the same;
  3. Provide innovative responses that are inclusive, building social connections that lead to better mental health;
  4. Confront stigma surrounding help-seeking behaviour.

Source: FRRR



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