Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)
The community group I’m Not Afraid To Talk (INATT) partnered with the University of South Australia (UniSA) to deliver a mental wellbeing program through Greater Flinders and Eastern Eyre football leagues / clubs to help adolescent and adult men in rural communities to improve their mental health and reduce the risk of suicide.
Working around COVID restrictions, cancellation of the football season, harvesting and extreme weather events, workshops were held in Kimba, Tumby Bay and Cowell, with a joint follow up session via Zoom. The workshops were supported by a $19,900 In a Good Place grant that was funded by CCI Giving.
Each four-hour workshop featured local key speakers sharing their lived experienced, followed by a series of activities that focused on how men may be perceived by others and how they perceive themselves, share experiences, and the importance of ongoing open conversations about mental health. A Toolkit Resource was collaboratively developed by UniSA and INATT after the workshops to guide clubs in planning activities to promote mental wellbeing.
The steps and strategies listed in the resource are based on community development principles and give clubs ideas on how to get started with planning mental wellbeing activities. This was introduced during the follow up session and made available to each group.
Due to the changes to the program, there was an underspend of funds. With the permission of FRRR, INATT ran an additional workshop for women in Kimba. This was a great success with approximately 80 women attending from Kimba and surrounding communities.
The workshops were the greatest success of this project as was evident by the high praise received by participants. The workshops assisted in improving attitudes towards mental health and help seeking. Participants also reported an increase in confidence and comfort in discussing mental health. Some of the comments included:
- “Mental health discussion rarely starts without a major poke”.
- “Probably will never be comfortable to do this but more equipped to have a go”.
- “Eye opening and is going to help myself and community”.
- “Very well done to get tough blokes thinking and talking”.
- “We don’t have many supports, apart from each other at the moment”.
- “Reassuring to know you not alone, great advice on how to deal with mental health”.
- “Was a great night, confronting at times but that made it so worthwhile and a good laugh at the end”.
The achievements of this project have been numerous with the strengths of both collaborators on this grant put to best use. INATT has extremely strong links with the Greater Flinders and Eastern Eyre communities which was evident by their excellent leadership and facilitation of the workshops and the level of attendance.