Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN is seeking applications from individuals, organisations and/or community groups who are interested in hosting community-led well-being events in drought affected communities within the Downs and West Moreton region. The PHN has been granted funding under the Commonwealth Department of Health’s Empowering our Communities initiative to facilitate community-led projects to support mental health, social and emotional well-being and suicide prevention initiatives for people living in drought affected areas.

Up to $10,000 of funding is available per applicant to host their event/s, with the events needing to be hosted before 30 June 2019. The events must be focused on fostering community social and emotional well being and resilience. The events may include workshops that promote resilience and reduce stigma associated with mental illness and mental health care, or they may include complimentary interventions known to improve physical and mental health such as group exercise, yoga and relaxation classes.

PHN Chief Executive Officer Merrilyn Strohfeldt said the drought continues to have an impact on communities across the region and that providing increased mental health support to those experiencing mental distress was a priority for the PHN. “We know that people living in drought affected communities continue to do it tough, but we also know that harnessing the resilience and strength of rural and regional communities can play a key role when it comes to providing support to people who may be dealing with mental illness,” Merrilyn said. “We also know that rural communities are generally averse to seeking and participating in more traditional, clinical forms of mental health care support and that often local, trusted individuals can provide a safe gateway to care. The Empowering our Communities funding will support our drought affected communities to strengthen their resilience and build their capability to recognise when a community-member may be doing it tough so that they can provide this safe gateway to care.”

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