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Mental health initiative goes door-to-door

Posted: 5am 03 Feb 2022

Redcliffe residents can expect a knock at their front door over the coming months to gauge interest and collect important data for a new mental health initiative.

Door knockers known as ‘people connectors’ will be hitting the streets from now until April as part of the Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) project.

The aim is to talk to residents about their mental health and link them with wellbeing services in the area, while also gathering feedback on any service gaps.

It’s funded by the Department of Social Services and run by Community Mental Health Australia, with CEO Bill Gye urging people to take part.

“Unfortunately for many reasons people do not want to talk about or even think about their mental health. People prefer to tough it out, hide from others, or avoid the stigma,” he said.

“Often, people only look for or receive support when they are in crisis.

“But prevention and early intervention is far more effective than dealing with people in a crisis.

“We must be more proactive connecting and communicating with people about the importance of wellbeing.

“That’s why the ACDC Project is going directly to households in Australia to engage them in conversation about these important issues.”

Residents will be asked if they wish to take part in a survey and receive an information pack with a fridge magnet and brochures.

Surprising statistics 

ACDC was held throughout Brisbane and Ipswich in 2021, with data from Ipswich showing people were struggling, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 494 people who engaged with a people connector, they were able to determine 39 per cent of householders said they currently had, or were living with, mental health issues. Of that number, 82 per cent said they had received a formal diagnosis of a mental health condition.

Anxiety, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Schizophrenia were among the highest mental health conditions identified.

In addition, 43 per cent of all householders indicated they wanted to seek help for their mental health in the past 12 months, and 40 per cent said they did not get the help they needed.

Reasons for householders not receiving help for mental health included they did now know where to go for help, no available services, the cost, and that they could not get help in a reasonable time.

ACDC Project Line Manager Tristan Brownson said the project had allowed many people to seek help rather than struggle in silence.

“We have seen the positive impact this project is having in communities. We have been able to facilitate multiple referrals for people needing connection with services and allowed people to be heard and feel valued. Sometimes that is all they need.”

Legitimate survey 

A spokesperson for the Department of Social Services confirmed this was a real health initiative, not a scam, with trained people visiting residents.

“Community Mental Health Australia run the Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) project to create, support and promote community connections, build the skills and confidence of people with disability and improve their access to community and mainstream services,” the spokesperson said.

“Community Mental Health Australia has specifically trained staff that go door-to-door, and also use face-to-face neighbourhood networks, to pro-actively link with disconnected people with psychosocial disability. This work is supported by local community members and partner organisations.

“The program is funded under the Australian Government’s Information Linkages and Capacity Building program which provides funding to community organisations to deliver support services in the community that benefit people with disability, their carers and families.”

For more information about the ACDC project, visit www.acdc.org.au

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