October is National Mental Health Month.
With one in five Australians experiencing some form of mental illness, the need to raise awareness and reduce stigma is vital.
This year’s Mental Health Month theme is ‘Mental Health Matters’. The Mental Health Foundation Australia says it’s an opportunity to ‘activate, educate and engage’ Australians about mental health and wellbeing.
The Mid North Coast’s CHESS Connect is one organisation that is taking a lead in developing resources and services to help those in need.
CHESS Connect supports locals to live a strong life through a range of employment, disability and wellbeing services.
Chief Executive Officer Paul Kelly says CHESS Connect has put together a booklet ‘Understanding and Managing Trauma’ that is particularly relevant in current times.
CHESS Connect also provides other trauma-informed services, which recognise the emotional and psychological wounds we sustain during our lives, how we think about them and how they can impact our emotional, physical and social development.
“We’ve developed a whole information service around trauma,” Mr Kelly said. “With last summer’s bushfires and this year’s pandemic and associated unemployment, these are stressful times that you could almost classify as traumatic.”
CHESS Connect includes career counselling among the services it offers.
“The world has been impacted by swift and sudden unemployment that just came from left field,” Mr Kelly said. “If you’ve lost your job, we can offer a work transition plan to identify your strengths and transferable skills.”
Healthy North Coast provides mental health funding to CHESS Connect through its North Coast PHN program.
In NSW, Mental Health Month is coordinated by WayAhead – the Mental Health Association of NSW.
WayAhead is encouraging people to ‘tune in’ for the month – to your senses, your community and to stigma. Click here to learn more.