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School students and adults holding certificates for an Act Belong Commit course

Building social and emotional wellbeing across the Pilbara.

The program was designed to build social and emotional wellbeing in select regional communities in Western Australia, focusing on the towns of Karratha and Onslow.

The program aimed to:

  • Build the capacity of communities in regional and remotes area of WA by supporting and strengthening individual resilience,
  • Reduce stigma surrounding mental illness,
  • Support people to take part in activities that are good for their mental health by supporting free community events or providing free activities, and
  • Encourage local organisations to work together.

“Mentally Healthy WA provide an opportunity for mums, dads and their children to meet, create networks and establish positive relationships in Onslow. This has proven to be invaluable due to the isolation that can be felt in small communities in regional WA.”

Rebecca Dawes, Onslow Play Group

Community Consultation

With extensive community consultation, action plans were developed for each town.

These included:

  • Improve communication and collaboration between local service providers,
  • Improve the promotion of existing events and activities,
  • Identify barriers to participation, and
  • Develop solutions to increase participation.

The Pilbara Capacity Building Program created integral programs, invaluable community linkages and delivered improvements on the coordination of local events and agencies, and was recognised as a finalist in the Diversity Category of the WA Mental Health Awards 2017 for its impact in improving mental wellbeing in the Pilbara.

Some of the highlights from the program included:

Feel Good Feb

The annual Feel Good Feb initiative encouraged and inspired people living in the Pilbara to initiate random acts of kindness for their fellow community members throughout the month of February.

PhotoVoice Project

The popular PhotoVoice Project challenged people to capture photos in line with the Act Belong Commit mentally healthy message, as well as what it meant to live in the Pilbara.

PhotoVoice Project

Man taking a photo out of a car window with his reflection in the wing mirror

Winner of PhotoVoice Competition

“The PhotoVoice competition provided me with an opportunity to further develop my own photography skills whilst meeting likeminded people; however, I found that by introducing my son to the PhotoVoice competition and workshops, I was able to watch his confidence and interest in photography grow. The only problem I have now is that I think he is taking better photos than me!”

Anthony Veder, 2017

Social Impact

Overall feedback from stakeholders involved in the Pilbara Capacity Building Program was positive.

Integral partnerships were formed with local organisations, community groups and health services throughout Karratha and Onslow, leading to the creation of integral programs and community linkages.

Over the four-year period, there were on average 5355 direct project beneficiaries per year. Among those reached:

  • 33% reported they had tried to do something for their mental health as a result of the campaign vs 16% in 2014
  • 22% reported they had discussed the campaign and mental health with members of their family or friends vs 8% in 2014
  • 26% indicated they had participated in events or activities sponsored by the campaign vs 7% in 2014.

To find out more about the Pilbara Capacity Building Program and how it can be tailored to your community, contact Mentally Healthy WA.