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Rural mental health receives $250,000 in grants

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FRRR’s In a Good Place (IAGP) program has awarded $250,000 in grants to 17 local organisations from remote, rural and regional Australia, for initiatives that will support and promote the mental health and wellbeing of locals in their communities.

Funded in partnership with CCI Giving, the IAGP program gives small rural communities across Australia the opportunity to access funds of up to $20,000 for community-driven projects that support vulnerable community members who are at risk of, or are experiencing, mental health issues. Since 2018, the IAGP program has helped to fund 70 mental health-focused projects across remote, rural and regional Australia.

This year, the 17 funded initiatives include community activities to help people feel connected, training to help people identify those who are at risk of harming themselves, mental health first aid courses, and one-on-one mentoring.

Jeremy Yipp, Chair of CCI Giving, said support for mental health projects is vital for effective recovery to take place.

“In this round, we saw a notable increase in the number of expressions of interest that referenced community recovery from the accumulative economic, social and emotional impacts of successive natural disasters and the pandemic.

“We’re in a crucial period of recovery and now is the time to support mental health initiatives in rural Australia and make sure that communities have the resources they need to recover from all that’s gone on in the last few years,” said Yipp.

Jill Karena, FRRR’s People Programs Portfolio Lead, highlighted that loneliness is prevalent across rural communities and that many people are feeling disconnected from their community.

“In the applications for this round, we read about a lot of projects explicitly addressing loneliness and social isolation.”

For example, in the Queensland community of Stanthorpe, Happy Chat Peer Support Group will use a $20,000 grant to expand the organisation and provide facilitated support to vulnerable community members living with mental illness, helping to reduce their social isolation and loneliness and to provide access to meaningful community-based activities.

“There is a clear need for social connection within remote, rural and regional communities and we’re grateful for our continued partnership with CCI Giving, as it allows us to provide much-needed funding to help combat the loneliness we’re seeing in communities throughout rural Australia,” said Karena.

Some of the 17 initiatives being funded include:

  • Community Housing – Kempsey, NSW – Treasured Insights (Mental Health-Inside Out Recovery) – Build the capacity of community housing staff and tenants to understand hoarding and domestic squalor disorders to assist recovery and improve the lives of vulnerable people living in social housing. $14,588
  • Sisters of Charity Community Care – Toowoomba, QLD – Dragonfly Health & Wellness Retreat – Enhance the mental health and well-being of rural women by providing a three-day retreat to enable participants to connect, learn self-care, and seek support. $11,000
  • Yankalilla Youth Arts – Yankalilla, SA – Sunday Sessions – Provide a creative and nurturing space for young people to engage in guided arts and theatre-based activities, with the presence of a counsellor and support therapy dog to support mental health and wellbeing. $12,260
  • Highways and Byways – St Helens, TAS – Free2Fly – Support isolated, vulnerable and disadvantaged young women to be confident and resilient through a one-to-one tailored mentoring program. $19,998
  • Goulburn Valley Suicide Awareness Group Inc – Yea, VIC – GVSAG Walk and Talk – Support the local community to connect and develop trusted relationships that create greater understanding of mental health issues and address the stigma surrounding suicide by upskilling volunteers, establishing facilitated support groups and holding a suicide awareness walk. $20,000
  • Enterprise Partnerships WA Limited – Balgo, WA – Piriwa Wellbeing Project – Develop individual resilience, confidence, group leadership and planning skills through intergenerational activities and regular yarning circles to strengthen the cultural identity, self-agency and mental well-being of Aboriginal women in a remote community. $20,000

A full list of the grant recipients and their funded projects is available on FRRR’s website.

To support grants like this through FRRR, make a tax-deductible donation at https://frrr.org.au/giving/.

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.

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