Investing in the business of relationships

Imagined Futures Executive Officer, Leigh Sinclair, presented to the WACOSS conference on the importance of investing in the business of relationships as a way of tackling some of the toughest social challenges impacting our community.

In her presentation Leigh argued that creating conditions that allow relationships to flourish is a purposeful endeavour in and of itself. In recent times we have seen this knowledge begin to translate into practice. Funders are realising that if we are to move from an outdated transactional approach to a contemporary relational one then they must invest in mechanisms that drive this change. We have seen such an investment in relationships deliver dividends in the South West Metropolitan Region of Perth. In this community three of these mechanisms come together to focus their collective efforts on same geographic community. The Fremantle Rockingham Family Support Network (FRFSN), the Suicide Prevention Coordinator program (SPC) and the Imagined Futures District Leadership Group all have different but intersecting remits, yet they all have the business of relationships at their heart. Over the turbulent pandemic years, they have leveraged their relationships to unlock the strength that exists in the community. They have worked together to deliver several collaborative projects including: improving support for people experiencing depression, enhancing connections for Aboriginal children in care to their family, culture, and community, and testing innovative ways of connecting people new to seeking support to the right support at the right time. Their experiences are a heart-warming testament to the collective power of community to rally together to tackle the most complex of challenges.

Davis Park Recipe Book

The Davis Park project is run by Imagined Futures who have been operating in Davis Park since 2014. Imagined Futures work with the community to create a community where residents feel safe and supported; where children and young people are engaged in educational, vocational, and recreational activities. We work together to create a good place to live.
A sausage sizzle has been held at Davis Park for several years, providing a place and time for residents to meet and connect. It is at these gatherings that local community matters are discussed, problems and joys are shared. In 2022, we came up with the One Pot Wonder idea – where we would cook up a healthy, affordable, and yummy meal once a week that could be cooked in one pot. Each week, we come together to prepare and cook a one pot wonder to share. We love our Fridays in the park and we hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have! Our recipe book can be found here!

Snapshot of Homelessness and Housing in the South Metropolitan region

The Imagined Futures Housing and Homelessness working group was formed to support the State Government’s 10 year Homelessness strategy with place-based interventions.  To be able to deliver on the high-level directions laid out, the working group identified the need for the development of a regional plan for the South Metropolitan region to foster alignment, generate clarity and guide key directions and actions.  Consultant, Pauline Logan, has been engaged to lead the process.

As part of the preparations for the development of the Plan, Pauline has gathered insights via consultations, information gathering and a desk top review to provide a Snapshot of the region. The Snapshot seeks to inform the differing levels of awareness about what is happening across the region and recognises that the regional context is impacted by the wider homelessness and housing system.  It also seeks to inform different roles and interests of stakeholders.  A copy of the Snapshot can be found here

Joining Forces to Tackle Depression

A partnership of government, businesses, philanthropists and community service providers called the Imagined Futures Alliance Against Depression*, is spear-heading a local public awareness campaign designed to reduce stigma for people experiencing depression and encourage people to reach out for support.

With COVID-19 now at our doorstep many people are feeling anxious and uncertain about the future but are unsure where, or if, they should seek help.

“We’ve seen a spike in mental health issues in our communities. At the same time, we know the earlier people reach out for support, the easier it is for them to find relief,” Imagined Futures Executive Officer Leigh Sinclair said.

However, stigma and lack of awareness of mental health issues, and confusion about what supports are available, can stop people from reaching out for help and accessing treatments.

“If our campaign can help prompt people who are struggling to reach out for help and, if necessary, access treatment, the evidence tells us we will reduce suicide in our community” she said.

The focus is on raising awareness about depression because it is one of most common mental health conditions in Australia and is a contributing factor in almost half of all suicide deaths.

“We want to convey that depression can affect anyone, at any age, but can also be treated with the proper support”.

AFL Dockers player Alex Pearce, an ambassador for the Alliance, knows this all too well.

“From my own experience of depression, after reaching out for help, I now have the tools in place to maintain my mental health.”

The Alliance has developed a Mental Health Support Resource of free or low-cost services for people of all ages living in the local government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville to accompany the campaign.  The services, which range from crisis help to online, phone and face-to-face providers, can be used alone, or complement advice from GPs, and assist people who also might be on a waitlist to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.

The Alliance encourages everyone to get behind the campaign and is offering free campaign packs to businesses, services, clubs, workplaces, and community groups in the Cockburn, Fremantle, and Melville areas.

 

To receive your free campaign pack, email ifaad@stpats.com.au call 08 6372 4873.

 

For more information about Imagined Futures AAD go to https://imaginedfutures.org.au/mental-health/alliance/

 

* The group’s work is informed by the grassroots Alliance Against Depression (AAD) framework to help combat suicide and depression in our community. Developed and tested in Europe, the AAD has been shown to reduce suicides and suicide-attempts by 24% over a two-year period.
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 local government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville. www.imaginedfutures.org.au

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.