As part of World Mental Health Day, 10 October, Lutheran Care is reminding our clients and the broader community, as well as Lutheran Care staff, volunteers, and foster families, that help is available for people experiencing mental health concerns or needing strategies and supports to help them live more mentally healthy lives.
The 2022 World Mental Health Day theme is, “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority”.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilise efforts in support of mental health. “The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide,” the WHO’s website states.
Today, as part of our commitment to mental health initiatives, we are excited to announce that Lutheran Care is a first-time sponsor and participant of the Festival of Now, which celebrates mental health and wellbeing in South Australia. Taking place on Friday 14 October, during Mental Health Month, the event will be held at Wauwi (Light Square). Lutheran Care will have a stall on the day, where visitors can chat to our team, find out about services available and participate in a macramé craft activity.
Creating community connections
Did you know that Lutheran Care delivers more than 50 programs across South Australia and the Northern Territory? Many of our services are designed to provide specific mental health assistance, promote wellbeing and help people feel more connected.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimates that around one in 10 people experience social isolation, and that this has a negative effect on their mental and physical health, and their ability to participate in the community.
One program assisting to overcome isolation and promote better mental health is Community Connections. Funded by the Department of Human Services, Lutheran Care delivers Community Connections in the Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills regions in partnership with other local organisations. The program aims to support people to increase their independence and build stronger social and community connections.
A recent success story coming through the program involves a client in the Barossa Valley, who had become withdrawn and disconnected from social life. The Community Connections team assisted her to connect with a local social group.
“I was consumed by anxiety and depression and my own social phobias made me withdraw even more,” the client shares.
“A chance meeting led me to the Lutheran Care Community Connections programme. I met a lovely, kind, caring and knowledgeable Participation Worker. Through her patience, understanding and encouragement I took that first very important step to return to a social connection. It wasn’t easy, but I made a decision to change my circumstances, because without change nothing was going to happen.
“I took a deep breath, left my anxieties at the door and went in and attended a Coffee Talk morning. It was such a relief to be so warmly welcomed. It was fun and lighthearted and such a joy to talk to people and to be amongst people.”
Other Lutheran Care mental health and wellbeing programs include:
- Counselling, which is available for low or no cost from Lutheran Care’s Blair Athol, Barossa Valley (Nuriootpa) and Murraylands (outreach) sites. Counselling can assist people with strategies to cope with or overcome concerns such as depression and anxiety, addiction, grief, and relationship breakups or issues, and give people guidance about ways to stay mentally healthy.
- Family Zone, based at Ingle Farm Primary School, is a parenting and family hub where a range of support and networking groups are offered for different cohorts such new parents (including a specific range of services and supports to engage fathers), families with children living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and migrants or refugees for whom English is a new language.
- Community Hubs are places where the entire community is welcome, but there is a special focus on services for migrant and refugee women (and children). Participants gather to network, learn new skills and access support and services which aim to improve confidence, bolster mental health and grow awareness around healthy relationships and Family or Domestic Violence services available.
- The Community Garden is a new initiative to support the wellbeing of residents of City of Playford living with chronic health issues.
- The Community Visitors Scheme, which Lutheran Care has delivered for more than 30 years on behalf of the Federal Government’s Department of Health and Aged Care, matches friendly volunteers with elderly people living at home or in aged care, for regular visits. The program aims to reduce social isolation and improve health and wellbeing by providing regular, meaningful connections.
Speaking of volunteering, Volunteering Opportunities as part of the CVS as well as Lutheran Care’s other programs and Op Shops offer people a chance to make friends, keep busy and connected, contribute to the betterment of their community and be valued for their time and effort.
With poor mental health being one of the key drivers of homelessness according to a recent (May 2022) report prepared by the Centre for Social Impact, The Funding of Western Australian Homelessness Services, it’s hoped our work in the space of early intervention and keeping the community mentally fit and well will complement the important work of the South Australian homelessness sector, which includes Lutheran Care’s own homelessness services as part of the Toward Home Alliance. Lutheran Care is lead agency of the Alliance, which assists people in Adelaide CBD, the Adelaide Hills and southern metro area who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Support for Lutheran Care staff, volunteers
Organisationally, we also look inwards, and encourage our clients and volunteers to look after and prioritise their mental health. To our clients and volunteers, Lutheran Care offers access to an Employee Assistance Program which provides free and confidential counselling sessions. There is also an additional annual leave day for paid staff for them to recharge and enjoy time with friends and family in the Christmas week, called ‘You’re Awesome Day.’
We wish everyone all the best this World Mental Health Day and invite you to share this article with your contacts, colleagues and community so we can continue to raise awareness of services available and normalise seeking support and strategies for improved mental health and wellbeing.
Mental Health Crisis Lines
If you are crisis, you can get confidential 24-hour support from:
Lifeline: 13 11 14 (Text service: 0477 131 114)
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
Mental Health Triage Services: 13 14 65
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
In a life-threatening emergency, please phone 000.
To book an appointment with a Lutheran Care counsellor:
Phone: (08) 8269 9300.