This October is Mental Health Month and this year’s theme is ‘connect with community’.
The Mental Health Coalition of South Australia is encouraging all South Australians to connect with their community and to reach out to those who could be isolated, feeling lonely or facing tough challenges. By connecting with each other we can support each other’s wellbeing as well as our own.
Community could be the people who live around us, share our interests or shared experiences. Our communities could be in a physical space or online. Wherever we find our community, being a part of it creates a positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. They give us a sense of belonging and connectedness which improves our quality of life.
“South Australia is dealing with loss of income and employment through COVID, housing stress and a high rate of suicidal ideation,,” says Geoff Harris, MHCSA Executive Director. “All of these factors are seeing us collectively face some of our toughest mental health challenges.
“During COVID-19 lockdowns South Australians were encouraged to reconnect with their communities, check in on neighbours, family and friends who live alone or are isolated. What we saw was a generosity of spirit as we reached out and tried what we could to support people. While that got us through some hard times we have come out of lockdown with a realisation that those mental health challenges we faced then have not gone away.”
Mental Health Month will begin with a video launch on social media featuring Minister Chris Picton, Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Geoff Harris, Executive Director, MHCSA, Renae Glouftsis, General Manager, Government and Sector Liaison from Mind Australia and Sue Pastro, Senior Coordinator Community Connections Program from Uniting Communities.
The video highlights the benefits of community based mental health support delivered by non-government services and where you can find support.
You can watch the video here.
Mental Health Month events include;
mindshare Group Exhibition featuring creatives with lived experience of mental health challenges from mindshare’s online community, showing alongside works made by participants in creative outreach programs run by Life Without Barriers Living Arts, Neami National, Skylight and LETSS.
Wallis Cinemas is continuing its commitment to Mental Health Month by hosting special screenings of EMBRACE: Kids. This feature documentary is Taryn Brumfitt’s follow up film to her first feature EMBRACE. It brings together a collection of stories from young people and famous friends, who share their experiences about body image, bullying, gender identity, advocacy, representation and more. There will be special school holiday screenings as well as screenings throughout October.
Also during the school holidays there is the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Festival of Now. Held in Wauwi / Light Square in the heart of the city this unique event brings together the power of creativity and wellbeing. This is a day of inclusiveness that challenges stigma and promotes community connection with a Youth Hub, Multicultural Hub, the LGBTIQA+ Rainbow Stall and the Wardli stall representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait services. Attractions at the festival include free food, live music and performances, interactive wellbeing activities, arts and crafts, animals with Darcy’s Travelling Farm, face painting and more. This year to commemorate their 10th anniversary there will be Wellbeing SA’s Laughter Corner featuring local comedians and a good belly laugh with Laughing Yoga.
On Wednesday 19 October Laughter is the Best of Meds will be held with new venue sponsor The Arkaba Hotel. This year’s host is Mary’s Poppins’ very own Wundes and the line up includes Mickey D, Marc Ryan (the Beautiful Bogan), Leela Varghese, Forum Barkrania, Josh Warrior and Frankly.
AdMental joins Mental Health Month and will be on 20th October at Bonython Hall with host Nurse Georgie. This year emerging creatives are tasked with creating a social media video that looks at supporting the mental health of our frontline emergency workers.
Mental Health Month includes BPD Awareness week from 1-7 October with community events in partnership with BPD Collaborative across the State. These events aim to raise awareness for Borderline Personality Disorder.
National Carers Week also runs from 16th to 22nd October. This is a time to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution that Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid carers make to our country. For people living with a mental health condition it is often carers, who may be family members or friends, that provide a range of support which helps people live their best lives. This year is the 30th anniversary of National Carers week and the theme is Millions of Reason To Care.
Finally Mental Health Month ends with the annual Lived Experience Workforce Awards at the Intercontinental. These Awards recognize and celebrate the contributions of people in designated mental health Lived Experience roles in SA.