Grassroots mental health initiatives receive a $200,000 boost

Media releases: 22 November 2018

Bendigo, 22 November 2018: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has announced the first recipients of the In a Good Place grants program. The funds support projects that improve mental health support in rural, regional and remote communities.

Fourteen projects will share $200,000 through these In a Good Place grants, thanks to CCI Giving, the charitable foundation of Catholic Church Insurance (CCI). Given the pressures and distinct challenges associated with living in rural and regional communities, as well as the widespread and long-term nature of the drought, it was not surprising this program was in high demand, attracting 74 applications seeking more than $1.2M in funds.

The program came about because CCI Giving and FRRR recognise that people living in small rural, regional or remote communities do not have the same level of access to mental health services and care as their urban counterparts. The National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA) reports there are only one third the number of psychologists in remote Australia compared with major cities, and 20 per cent more hospitalisations due to mental illness.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, says that many applicants quoted alarming statistics about mental health issues in their local regions, reporting rising levels of mental distress and suicide. However, there were some great ideas to respond in a way that will ensure people in need get the support they need.

“NRHA highlight that people living in smaller rural communities, where people are more visible and people know each other, can be apprehensive about seeking help, and fear the stigma often associated with mental illness.

“Thanks to the support of CCI Giving, we have funded projects that will provide support in different ways – from general information sessions, to specific advice services and targeted support. These project will make a difference across all age-groups, from youth to seniors, by improving skills, connecting people with services, and importantly, with each other.”

Roberto Scenna, CEO of CCI and Director of CCI Giving, said that while many of us take our mental health for granted, and can easily access support when we need it, isolation and a lack of services make that much more challenging for those in country areas.

“It is more important than ever to empower local communities to take ownership of their population’s health and wellbeing. There were a number of trusted organisations that applied for funding, including many local faith-based organisations. We are very pleased to be able to provide these funds so they can do this important work and help more people access programs and services that respond to the unique situations they face,” Mr Scenna said.

Some of the locally-led projects funded in Round One of the In a Good Place program include:

  • fLiNG Physical Theatre Inc, NSW – $17,700 – the My Black Dog project will strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of young people in the Bega Valley area by engaging them in performance art and wellbeing workshops. This project will use the arts to discuss relevant youth mental health issues, tackle stigma and equip young people, and the broader community, with coping skills and strategies.
  • Lifeline Tasmania Inc, TAS – $20,000 – Lifeline Tasmania is establishing Suicide Bereavement Groups in four rural communities to decrease isolation and build resilience. The project Suicide Bereavement Group worker will also develop and trial a Suicide Bereavement Group Procedure Manual, with a view to supporting other rural communities to establish their own groups.
  • Rural Communities Australia Ltd, SA – $4,313 – the Country Women Seniors Project is working to address and prevent depression and improve self-worth through storytelling. Through a series of interviews and support groups, older women around Robe will share their personal stories and identify the challenges they face participating in the community and building social connections. This information will help inform ways in which local communities can assist these women to become less isolated.
  • Shire of Augusta Margaret River, WA – $19,279 – the Augusta Margaret River Community Healing and Regeneration Project is a collaborative project in response to a series of traumatic incidents experienced in the community. The project aims to build mental health and community resilience through a series of community walks and planting events to foster healing, reconnection and resilience for the local community at sites significant to the various incidents.

The next round of the In a Good Place program will open in early 2019. Keep an eye on FRRR’s grants calendar for the opening date.

The full list of projects funded is below.




Amount Awarded

New South Wales

CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes Limited

Connecting People – “Keeping It Together”
Build community resilience and wellbeing by expanding the Family Relationship Counselling service to four remote NSW communities.

White Cliffs
Pooncarie Tibooburra


Coonamble Neighbourhood Centre

Accidental Counsellor Workshops for community first responders to mental health issues
Build the capacity of the Coonamble and Gilgandra communities to respond to mental illness through the delivery of Accidental Counsellor training to front line workers.



fLiNG Physical Theatre Inc

My Black Dog
Strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of young people by engaging youth in performance art, and wellbeing workshops.



Tenterfield Social Development Committee Inc.

Strengthening Resilience in Tenterfield Youth
Increase the resilience and wellbeing of students at Tenterfield High School by providing in-school behavioural intervention programs.



The Trustee For Raise Foundation

Mentoring at-risk youth (Wee Waa)
Strengthening the resilience, positive coping skills and educational outcomes of at risk adolescents through participation in a school based mentoring program.

Wee Waa



Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation Inc

Meeting at the Mail Box – Rural Wellbeing Extension Program
Build capacity and social inclusion in rural Queensland farming communities through provision of and participation in a Rural Wellbeing Extension Program.



South Australia

Rural Communities Australia Ltd

Country Women Seniors Project
Address and prevent depression, improve self-worth and independence, and raise the profile of socially isolated rural senior women, through autobiographical storytelling and group participation.




Fingal Valley Neighbourhood House

Counselling Service for the Fingal Valley
Increase access to mental health services through the provision of a dedicated counselling service for at risk and vulnerable people within the Fingal Valley.

St Marys


Lifeline Tasmania Inc

Lifeline Tasmania: Suicide Bereavement Support Groups
Decrease isolation and build resilience through the establishment and implementation of Suicide Bereavement Groups in four rural communities in Tasmania.




Rochester Secondary College

Building Connections – Social Emotional Learning Program
Improve the resilience, life skills and overall wellbeing of students through the provision of a part-time social worker at the Rochester Secondary College.



Simpson & District Community Centre Inc

Mental Health – a community response
Build the capacity of the Simpson community to respond to and prevent mental illness through the delivery of Mental Health First Aid training to front line workers.



Western Australia

Anglicare WA

Come for a Yarn – Healing Circle
Strengthen the mental health of women impacted by domestic and family violence through participation in an eight-week women’s healing circle.




Coorow Community Resource Centre Incorporated

Coorow – On Speaking Terms
Strengthen whole of community sense of identity, resilience and cohesion through a series of coordinated community events.



Shire Of Augusta Margaret River

Augusta Margaret River Community Healing and Regeneration Project
Build mental health and community resilience after three recent traumatic occurrences, through a series of collaborative, whole of community participatory events and community walks at sites significant to the various incidents.

Margaret River