Funding for Queensland Mental Health Week 2020 community events and initiatives has been boosted by $100,000 in recognition of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic said the funding increase acknowledged community vulnerability and stress due to the pandemic’s socio-economic fallout.
“My team at the Queensland Mental Health Commission (QMHC) is keenly aware of the need to bring communities together this year, even if that can only be done virtually,” he said.
“And Queenslanders obviously agree, as applications for our Mental Health Week small grants program more than doubled, from 125 last year to 255 this year.
“This has led me to increase our pool to $192,000, which will be shared by 109 community organisations stretching from the Gold Coast to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and across the outback.
“Activities to boost wellbeing will include a flouro flash dash in Blackall, a colour run in Durack, Indigenous saltwater healing on North Stradbroke Island, theatre games with the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, library events in Normanton, and a men’s weekend in Cloncurry.”
Mr Frkovic said Queensland Mental Health Week focused on grassroots community initiatives to promote mental health and wellbeing.
“Learning the skills to build positive wellbeing is ever-more important to every single Queenslander, because the pandemic’s effects are felt by everyone.
“We need to increase activities, events and initiatives that nourish and sustain our mental health and wellbeing.
“The six building blocks of our mental health and wellbeing are: get healthy, keep learning, show kindness, connect more, take notice and embrace nature.”
Mr Frkovic said 35 Queensland schools and four youth services had been funded to promote mental health awareness and better wellbeing among children and young people.
“Young people are more likely to experience the longer-term effects of the pandemic. It’s important to acknowledge the strain they’re under and help them navigate the ongoing disruption to their lives.”
He said grant recipients included 10 rural and regional councils, eight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, and several neighbourhood centres.
“Many organisations will host Queensland Mental Health Week events online this year, but there are also plenty of COVID-safe in-person activities,” Mr Frkovic said.
To participate in state-wide Queensland Mental Health Week (10-18 October) events, go to www.qmhw.org.au. There are currently 200 registered events statewide.
The Queensland Mental Health Week grant program is funded by the Queensland Mental Health Commission and administered by the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health.