Mandurah mental health initiatives prioritise suicide prevention

With a higher than average suicide rate, Mandurah was selected for a national trial aimed at finding the most effective approaches to suicide prevention for at-risk populations.

The Perth South Suicide Prevention Trial is working to support young people in the City of Mandurah by funding eight community mental health initiatives.

The City worked with the Bank of I.D.E.A.S to develop a program to support community designed activities, which focus on health, inclusiveness and a connected local community.

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According to a Mandurah community development officer the funding went to a diverse range of mental health initiatives.

"We received $75,000 in funding from the WA Primary Health Alliance to support a whole lot of awesome projects," the spokesperson said.

"This trial was looking at how we can best support community driven initiatives to wrap around young people especially those dealing with mental health issues."

Bank of I.D.E.A.S director Peter Kenyon added that the focus of the initiatives was about wrapping community around people.

"It's not about programs and services it's all about relationship building," he said.

"The heart of this program is how we wrap community around people and connect our young people to their communities."

The Mandurah Mental Health Initiative community-led programs include:

  • The Fathering Project, recognises that often fathers in the area have very little support and promotes the role of a father within a child's life.
  • Act Belong Commit's Mentally Healthy schools program, provides schools with training in mental health promotion, resources, professional development, and more.
  • Community Minded Kids, a primary school based program that aims to foster community minded thinking in children through a series of ten classroom lessons.
  • The Lakelands Repair Cafe, connects with places that support young people in need to provide an opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, and to challenge the "throw it away" mentality.
  • Coastal Lakes College "You Can Do It" program, teaches college students the skills of getting along, resilience, persistence, organisation and confidence.
  • Neighbourhood Connect, promotes social integration as an important step to combat loneliness and depression.
  • Dismantle's Bike Rescue program, uses bike mechanics as a vehicle for counselling, soft skill development, and an opportunity to work on vocational goals.
  • Mandurah Performing Arts Centre's We/They/Them youth photography project, designed to engage young people in conversationsaround identity, mental health and belonging through photography.

Despite some of the funded initiatives being postponed due to the pandemic, Mr Kenyon said there was a "silver lining" in COVID-19.

"COVID-19 has had many silver linings and one is that while many traditional services and programs could not function, community solidarity, neighbour support and local compassion flourished," he said.

"People discovered that only way to get through difficult times is together, to truly experience connection with others.

"These community led projects illustrate this same reality - people don't function well or heal in isolation, but they do in this thing called community."

If you or someone you know needs urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

The Mandurah Mail will explore the community-led programs in more detail over the coming weeks.