Keeping Mentally Healthy

The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) aims to build the resilience of the individuals and communities of rural and remote NSW. Resilient people have the capacity to remain mentally well during and after times of adversity. RAMHP aims to build this resilience and create mentally healthy individuals, organisations and communities.

 Mentally Healthy Individuals

Steve Carrigg, RAMHP Mental Health Promotion Officer Steve-surfing

There is great importance placed on maintaining our physical health, and an abundance of information and support available to help us do so. However, our mental health is not always considered in the same way.

According to the World Health Organisation, being mentally healthy is realising your potential, being able to cope with the normal stresses of life and working productively to make a contribution to your community. Keeping mentally healthy is as important as keeping physically healthy, and there are things we can all do to maintain our own mental health and wellbeing.

Being physically active and participating in activities you enjoy are great ways to stay mentally healthy. Steve Carrigg, our RAMHP Mental Health Promotion Officer from Northern NSW, recognises the importance of maintaining his own mental wellbeing, particularly during times of change.

In early 2013, Steve moved to Lismore and started his work with RAMHP. As part of this work, he began to determine the needs of the local community and to form partnerships with government, healthcare providers and the general community, as well as undertaking a wide range of activities, including Mental Health First Aid, Psychological First Aid, education sessions and community events. Steve found during this transition into a new job and community, that surfing gave him a sense of happiness and contentment.

Like many of us, Steve is busy both at work and at home, but he still ensures that there is time in his schedule to surf. He knows that being mentally and physically healthy are both important in living a full and productive life. So, follow Steve’s example, participate in an activity you enjoy and keep yourself mentally healthy.

Mentally Healthy Organisations

Cristal-minesCristal Mining Australia

After becoming concerned about the impact of mining on the mental wellbeing of their employees, Cristal Mining Australia decided it was time for a change. They partnered with RAMHP to promote mentally healthy behaviours at their Ginkgo mine site.

Di Gill, RAMHP Mental Health Promotion Officer for Western NSW, introduced Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to educate management on the risk factors for mental illness and to help break down associated stigma. The MHFA training aims to ensure staff members have the skills and knowledge to identify, approach, support and refer individuals.

Di has also helped to promote mentally healthy behaviours at the Ginkgo mine site. In order to overcome common risk factors for mental ill health, information and group activities are now being provided, which aim to increase awareness, stimulate discussion and encourage employees to join a group. To target the risk of social isolation, Rotary International has offered to form a satelilite branch at the mine which will enable participants to stay connected both on site and at home.

RAMHP has been praised for its work at Gingko mine, with Cristal Mining Australia staff pleased to have the opportunity to engage in enjoyable, mentally healthy behaviours.


Mentally Healthy Communities

Bega Valley Mental Health CommitteeBega

The Bega Valley Mental Health Month Committee is passionate about promoting positive mental health messages to the wider community.

RAMHP representative on the committee, Rural Mental Health Promotion Officer Jennie Keioskie, works with a range of individuals and organisations to promote activities throughout mental health month which focus on mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention strategies.

As many of the factors that promote positive mental health and wellbeing lie within the community, a whole of community approach is taken. The committee, with community input, develop a calendar of events throughout the month that encourages community connectedness through participation, which in turn promotes the importance of social inclusion for all.

The committee likes to promote a wide range of activities with the belief that there really is something for everyone if you look hard enough. The diversity of groups is quite astonishing and includes social groups for seniors, parenting groups, walking groups, school holiday programs, men’s sheds, aboriginal groups, gardening groups, dancing groups, community choirs as well as specific groups for carers and consumers.

The work of mental health promotion does not stop at the close of mental health month. As a direct result of activities undertaken during the month of October partnerships have been established with individuals and organisations which continue to flourish well into the future.