There are many individuals and organisations across NSW doing vital work to ensure the wellbeing of others. Because this work is often quiet or grassroots, it can be hard to hear about the successes. Once a year, we celebrate those who have worked so hard for the better mental health in our community with the Mental Health Matters Awards.
The winners receive a plaque, a luncheon at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney, a $1,000 prize and a chance to share their passion for their projects with their peers and members of the public.
Last year, we had winners across a number of categories, both individuals and organisations, recognised for the immense contributions that they have made in our sector.
One of the 2018 winners was the program, Red Dust Healing, in the Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Award category.
Red Dust Healing
Red Dust Healing is specifically for Indigenous men, women and families to support them through life’s challenges. These include family and community violence, suicide, rejection, addictions, grief and loss, and mental health issues. The program is so successful because it uses Indigenous perspectives.
The Red Dust Healing program has reached more than 15,000 people across more than 300 communities, both in Australia and overseas.
The Wagga Wagga Mental Health Recovery Unit won last year’s Lived Experience Participation and Leadership Award for their Mental Health Recovery Program. The Unit provides a free, residential, voluntary psycho-education and support program for people with a mental health issue.
Wagga Wagga Mental Health Recovery Unit
The program takes a holistic approach including sleep, diet, exercise, communication, relationships and emotional wellbeing. The course also covers self-esteem, assertiveness, mental health, healthy eating, distress tolerance, cognitive behavioural therapy, living skills and personal recovery.
Consumers set their own goals, write their own weekly reports and run their own meetings. As a result, the program focusses on consumers to ensure that they are at the centre of their own journey.
This year, there are new categories for awards. The first is the Mental Health Matters Youth Award, recognising initiatives that are focussed on early intervention among young people. The second is the Mental Health Matters Rainbow Inclusion Award, sponsored by ACON, recognising projects that are committed to the mental health of LGBTIQA+ communities.
Nominations for the Mental Health Matters Awards 2019 are now open across a range of categories. To find out more or to complete a nomination, visit: mentalhealthmonth.wayahead.org.au/about-the-awards/nomination/