HINDMARSH Shire Council has received a $15,000 boost to improve understanding and de-stigmatise mental health conditions in young people.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the grant would support council’s Understanding Reality program.
The program would use forums and events to encourage connection and opportunities for Hindmarsh’s young people to talk about problems before they start to get overwhelmed.
Ms Kealy said such programs were particularly important in rural areas.
“Mental health and self-destructive behaviours are a particular concern in rural areas,” she said.
“We all need to know how to support someone going through a tough time and encourage them to seek support from their doctor.
“Our region also has limited access to mental health services readily accessible across the rest of Victoria due to our remoteness, presenting a further challenge.”
The announcement coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week, with Ms Kealy imploring residents to seek help when it’s needed.
“I want everyone to know that it is normal to seek help for mental health and that it’s okay to not feel great all of the time,” she said.
Member for Western Victoria Jaala Pulford said the money was provided through VicHealth’s Bright Futures Challenge.
Ms Pulford said almost 75 per cent of mental illnesses started before a person’s 25th birthday.
“It’s important we take a preventative focus and work to build resilience in young people living in Hindmarsh Shire,” she said.
“The projects supported through the challenge will trial preventative strategies to equip young people to better cope with challenges they may face. The grants will make a significant difference to future-proofing young people in towns like Nhill, Rainbow, Dimboola and Jeparit.”
Ms Pulford said projects that demonstrated the greatest potential during the year-long pilot phase could receive further support from the state government.