A new door-to-door mental health and wellbeing survey has found that over half of householders wanted to seek help for their mental health in the last 12 months, however 37% of these householders did not get the care they needed. The top two reasons for householders not getting help were that they preferred to self- manage (52%), or they experienced fear/embarrassment/shame (41%).
The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project’s People Connectors spoke with and offered information to 469 householders in Wollondilly, 225 of whom then completed a survey of their experiences with mental health and accessing support.
The survey found that over one-third of householders reported having, or living with, a mental health issue.
Additionally, half of the householders surveyed reported low wellbeing.
Many householders (38%) felt they needed more support for their mental health, with the large majority (60%) reporting a preference for peer support.
Bill Gye, CEO of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), who manages the ACDC Project, says that the preference of peer support in the community needs to be considered in future service planning.
“We need to, and will, communicate our findings to local mental health and community service planners. In this regard, one of the standout recommendations is that people have requested peer support as their top priority for type of support required, even more than talking with a professional,” said Mr Gye.
People Connectors from Community Links Wellbeing, who partnered with CMHA, went door-to-door between March 2022 and July 2022.
Greg Duffy, General Manager of Community Links Wellbeing, says that the survey results suggest that despite enduring the recent traumatic events in Wollondilly, there is still reluctance in the community to seeking help for their mental health.
“The high percentage of anxiety and depression amongst householders who took part in the survey was
relative to what our local community has gone through in the past 2 years – multiple traumatic events,
combined with natural disasters and pandemics. It was a surprise to see how many people still have that stigma around mental health and are ashamed to seek help.”
People Connectors spoke with householders about their mental health and wellbeing and distributed
information about free support services available in their area.
The ACDC Project is being implemented in communities across all states and territories of Australia to improve wellbeing and collect important data with the assistance of the Centre for Social Impact.
The final report of the ACDC Project, along with recommendations for how the sector can better meet the
needs of communities, is scheduled to be released in the beginning of next year.