Drumming up awareness for World Mental Health Day

With one in five Australians aged 16-85 suffering from depression, anxiety or substance abuse every year, safeguarding the mental health of Australians is a collective challenge that continues to be a top priority for the healthcare and communities sectors—particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates psychological stress.

As part of their ongoing efforts to promote social inclusion and wellbeing through community partnerships, Imagined Futures commemorated World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10th October with a free event at The Esplanade in Fremantle.

Leigh Sinclair, Executive Officer of Imagined Futures commented, “While there is an increasing instance of mental health issues in our communities, many people don’t seek help due to the stigma attached to having a mental illness.”

“By running community mental health events such as this, Imagined Futures hopes to not only destigmatise mental health but to raise awareness, to start conversations and to work across boundaries, so we are all better able to work toward tackling some of the complex issues that are facing our community.”

More than 200 people descended on the park in the heart of Fremantle on Saturday, enjoying live music, yoga, drumbeat sessions and exploring 24 stalls manned by mental health and wellbeing services agencies in the Fremantle, Cockburn and Melville areas.

Noongar Elder Marie Taylor performed a stirring Welcome to Country, and Kaine Grigg, Chair of the Imagined Futures Alliance Against Depression and Executive Officer of Fremantle Mind spoke about his mission to identify gaps in existing community mental health systems and subsequently develop and deliver services to fill these areas of service need.

Mayor Brad Pettit, Mayor Logan Howlett and Councillor Tomas Fitzgerald spoke about their Council’s efforts to combat the mental health crisis that has intensified during the pandemic and the importance of working together across government, health and community organisations to forge better mental health outcomes.

Founded in 2014, Imagined Futures is a collective impact partnership auspiced by St Pat’s Community Support Centre. The partnership brings together human service agencies, businesses, philanthropists and community members to tackle complex social issues across the south west metropolitan region.

In addition to its Alliance Against Depression Initiative, Imagined Futures runs a number of projects designed to improve social, cultural and economic outcomes and empower communities to reach their potential, including the Youth Initiative, Davis Park Community Initiative and Housing Initiative.

IF and Lakelands High School team up to support students at home

One strategy toward containing the COVID-19 outbreak in Western Australia was the recommendation that, if possible, students should remain at home.  In response to this directive Imagined Futures designed the ‘At Home Workbook’  in collaboration with Lakeland Senior High School. The workbook was created with the aim of supporting students at Lakeland Senior High School during isolation. The focus was to create an opportunity for all students, in particular those that do not have access to internet or computers at home, to be engaged in fun and educational activities, that aim to promote pro social behaviours and to benefit mental and physical well being.

The Youth Initiative working group, a sub group of Imagined Futures, aims to keep kids engaged in schools by supporting leadership, wellbeing and emotional resilience programs in schools, along with projects such as the ‘At Home Workbook’ that can cater for diverse support needs of students  and schools.  The workbook is freely available and can be accessed here – AT HOME WORK BOOK final