Array of community mental health projects for young people in Mandurah

To support young people in the City of Mandurah, eight community mental health projects have been funded as part of the Perth South Suicide Prevention Trial.

The Mandurah Mental Health Initiative is a grant program that supports community designed and implemented activities.

The activities focus on healthy, inclusive and connected local communities where everybody feels like they matter, belong and can contribute.

The City of Mandurah worked with the Bank of I.D.E.A.S to develop a program that would ‘wrap’ community, and not only services, around local residents, and importantly, move the focus from doing ‘to’ and ‘for’ young people with greater emphasis on ‘with’ and ‘of/by’ young people.

The program encapsulates this year’s Mental Health Week theme, Strengthening Our Community, perfectly.

Peter Kenyon from Bank I.D.E.A.S said the core belief of the program was that people didn’t function well or heal in isolation, but rather when they were involved in their community.

“I’ve always believed that whatever the issue community is the answer,” he said.

“COVID-19 has had many silver linings and one is that while many traditional services and programs could not function, community solidarity, neighbour support and local compassion flourished.

“People discovered that only way to get through difficult times is together, to truly experience connection with others.”

Along with this grant funding, the City of Mandurah community development officers act as the link between the community activities and clinical treatment services to ensure young people are supported holistically.

This will include working closely with the Peel Health Hub and Peel Youth Medical Services.

The result of this work, and the significant efforts of local groups, are the following community-led programs:

  • The Fathering Project, recognises that often fathers in the area have very little support and promotes the role of a father within a child’s life.
  • Act Belong Commit’s Mentally Healthy schools program provides schools with training in mental health promotion, resources, professional development, and more.
  • Community Minded Kids is a primary school based program that aims to foster community minded thinking in children through a series of ten classroom lessons.
  • The Lakelands Repair Cafe connects with places that support young people in need to provide an opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, and to challenge the “throw it away” mentality.
  • Coastal Lakes College “You Can Do It” program teaches college students the skills of getting along, resilience, persistence, organisation and confidence.
  • Neighbourhood Connect promotes social integration as an important step to combat loneliness and depression.
  • Dismantle’s Bike Rescue program uses bike mechanics as a vehicle for counselling, soft skill development, and an opportunity to work on vocational goals.
  • Mandurah Performing Arts Centre’s We/They/Them youth photography project is designed to engage young people in conversationsaround identity, mental health and belonging through photography.

WA Primary Health Alliance Suicide Prevention Manager Sharleen Delane said the projects would help young people to build resilience, create strong networks and connect with like-minded individuals in their area.

“Community-led initiatives are a critical part of the Perth South Suicide Prevention Trial, to create a sustainable foundation for mental health support, beyond the life of the Trial itself,” she said.

This initiative is part of the Australian Government’s Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana Suicide Prevention Trial, led by WA Primary Health Alliance and Peel and Rockingham Kwinana Community Response Steering Group.

The Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana region is one of 12 sites across Australia selected by the Australian Government to participate in The National Suicide Prevention Trial.

The 12 locations chosen for the Trial have a higher than average suicide rate and this major trial aims to find the most effective approaches to suicide prevention for at-risk populations and share this knowledge across Australia.

The Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana Suicide Prevention Trial is focusing on young people between the ages of 16 to 24.

If you or someone you know needs urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or Kids Helpline (5 to 25 years) on 1800 55 1800.

Mental Health Week is coordinated by the Western Australian Association for Mental health and runs from 10-17 October. Find out about Mental Health Week events.