Building Healthy Communities

Mental Health Week is a national event each year in October that aims to shine a spotlight on mental health in our communities. Mental Health Week provides an opportunity to increase mental health literacy, inform community members of the support services available and share ideas on what people can do in their lives to support their own wellbeing.

In the Northern Territory Mental Health Week is celebrated 5-10 October, ending on World Mental Health Day. The NT theme for Mental Health Week is ‘Building Healthy Communities’, acknowledging that building the overall health of our communities is integral in supporting people’s mental health.

The Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA) organised a program of activities in Alice Springs in collaboration with other local organisations. Activities included a Mental Health Week launch at Yaye’s Café in the Araluen Arts Precinct, a film screening of ‘My Year Of Living Mindfully’ at the Alice Springs Cinema, a morning tea at MHACA with a presentation by the Congress Health Promotion Team and the NPY Women’s Council Uti Kulintjaku Program, Relaxation Workshops at Lasseters Health Club in partnership with the Alice Springs Town Council, and a special Heart Foundation Walk for World Mental Health Day. The popular Stress Less In The Park event was on Friday 9 October at the Civic Centre Lawns.

Local cafe’s participated in a ‘Mental Health Matters’ coffee cup promotion throughout the week.

“Collaborating and working together is a key ingredient in building healthy communities,” said Helen Lambert, Health Promotion Unit Manager, Mental Health Association of Central Australia.

“We know that a whole range of factors can influence a person’s mental health including secure housing, financial issues, family supports, social networks, employment, illness, trauma, stress and other environmental factors. Addressing the social determinants of mental health help prevent mental illness and in the long run reduces pressure on services.”

“2020 has been a tough year with lots of change and challenges from the impacts of the Coronavirus. However, we have also seen the power of what happens when we work together. MHACA is committed to reducing the stigma of mental ill health in our communities and collaborating with local organisations so that community members can better understand services and access the support they need for mental health challenges.”