Mentally Fit Eyre Peninsula representatives presented at the Suicide Prevention Network Showcase at Suicide Prevention Australia’s States in Focus Forum held in South Australia in August 2022. The Forum brought together a diverse range of presentations from the mental health and suicide prevention sector, government, research and community.
Mentally Fit Eyre Peninsula (EP) was created by community members in 2014 to change negative communication about mental illness and advance skills in mental health to support others in the community. The project runs in the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia, and includes a range of activities to reduce stigma, promote available services and self-care practices. Mentally Fit EP aims to reach the community across a distance of 170,500km² and nearly 59,000 people.
An example of a community-led mental health and suicide prevention activity developed by Mentally Fit EP is the Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign. This campaign arose after identifying that current programs and services offered in the region did not meet the needs of males. The Rotary Men’s Wellness Campaign hosts workshops to provide education to males about resources and services available that support mental health in the region, placing emphasis on the importance of having conversations in the community to support stigma reduction and identify those males who may need support with their mental health.
Port Lincoln Rotary Club hosted a workshop as part of the campaign showcasing a large number of male perspectives and tips on what they do to keep well. Feedback from males living in the area expressed that they do not want any services taken away from them, demonstrating concern for men’s mental health in the region.
Mentally Fit EP promotes and hosts a range of events in the region that all aim to improve mental health and suicide prevention. Examples include promoting mental health and suicide prevention training courses for community members, hosting family events that support the community and social connectedness, film nights, young person focused events, and fundraising events such as gala balls that support stigma reduction and start conversations regarding mental health and suicide prevention.
Mentally Fit EP was created and led by the local community. Community led initiatives form a crucial part of a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention in South Australia and wider Australia.
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