As someone who works in the mental health sector, I’m very much aware of the impact that mental ill-health can have on people’s lives. Council can play an important role in reducing stigma and reaching out to the community to help them engage with mental health services.
Mental health has become increasingly relevant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The personal, social and economic toll of being in lockdown has had a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of so many people in our community. As we exit lockdown and return to our new normal, Council must put a strong focus on the mental health of everyone in our community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to put a strong focus on mental health.
Council needs to work much harder on community building when this is all over. Building strong communities is a key step in creating a safety net and a sense of connectedness, which is a vital part of a person’s wellbeing. By engaging with strong communities, Council can put mental health in the spotlight as we recover post-COVID.
I will make sure Council engages with leading mental health organisations such as Beyondblue, headspace, Black Dog Institute and Lifeline as well as local groups such as neighbourhood houses, community centres and Men’s Sheds to ensure that mental health services are available and accessible to everyone in the community. A vital part of this is raising awareness and reducing stigma.
I will work hard to make sure mental health services are available and accessible to the whole community.
In particular, Council needs to engage with groups in our community who are most at risk of experiencing mental ill-health. This includes young people, seniors and people who identify as LGBTQIA+. It is particularly important that these groups are given support and encouragement to access mental health services if they need to.
A strong plan to improve mental health outcomes in our community should include measures such as:
- Investigating the viability of a local youth hub to provide a space for young people, in particular LGBTQIA+ young people, to seek support and connect with each other.
- Taking steps to prevent domestic violence in our community.
- Working with local groups such as neighbourhood houses, community centres and Men’s Sheds to create connected communities which promote mental health and well-being.
- Reaching out to seniors in our community.
- Promoting resources in the local community to raise awareness and reduce stigma so people are given every opportunity to reach out if they need to.