Mental Awareness Sessions
Jeremey Forbes from HALT – Hope and Assistance to Local Tradies
Knowing what to look for and where to go for help in the Grampians and Wimmera is behind a new program being brought to the area this week.
Money raised from the Healthy Blokes Over 40’s Football Match held in Ararat last August is being utilised to promote Men’s Health, and mental health in particular. HALT (Hope and Assistance to Local Tradies) will be partnering with Grampians Community Health to provide this unique insight into dealing with mental health and local responses.
Greg Little CEO of Grampians Community Health said that a commitment was made by Grampians Community Health to use the funds from the extremely well supported Over 40’s Footy match to hold Mental Health awareness raising sessions and First Aid courses at places where men frequent.
“The HALT sessions are the first step in honouring this commitment and investing in the mental health of blokes in our community” said Mr Little.
HALT was developed by Jeremy Forbes from Castlemaine, a builder and an artist with the support of a concerned community. Jeremy went on to host the first ‘SAVE YOUR BACON’ Brekky in November 2013, for those in the building industry. It all started in a timber yard of a local hardware store, Rotarians behind the BBQ cooking a breakfast of bacon and eggs and a free goodie bag for all who attended.
Jermey will host next week’s sessions in the region, conveying a positive message and awareness to workers that are traditionally less likely to come forward when faced with their own mental health issues.
Jeremey Forbes explains that HALT aims to remind people they are valued by their community, and direct them to support services, both local and national, should they need them.
Kathleen Doole from Grampians Community Health said that although HALT’s original focus was on the trade sector we are excited to extend the sessions in the Grampians to local football clubs, Men’s sheds, and Local businesses.
Grampians Community Health are also holding an open session in Stawell on Wednesday 5th June at 12pm until 1pm for anyone who might be interested in hearing Jeremy’s inspirational talk. For more information about the Grampians Community Health Halt events or if you are interested in having a HALT session later on in the year please contact Grampians Community Health 03 5358 7400.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 03 5358 7400.
Launch of Connecting2Community in the Grampians Wimmera Region
Connecting2Community is an initiative between Grampians Community Health and Ballarat Community Health is bringing a new peer designed and led model of mental health support to the Grampians/Wimmera region. Called Connecting2community, the program has been launched with the support of the Western Victorian Primary Health Network.
Launching the service in Horsham, the key drivers of the program were PHN CEO Dr Leanne Beagley, Sean Duffy CEO of Ballarat Community Health BCH and Greg Little CEO of Grampians Community Health as well as the peer workers who will deliver the service, Lucy Beaton, Shannan Flood, Rick Corney and Sara Cunningham-Smith who are all individuals with a lived experience and hold a formal qualification in Community Services.
It is great to see local services coming together, Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said. “There was a gap identified in the service provision for people experiencing mental illness and a joint initiative between BCH and GCH has enabled us to deliver the exciting new program to the Wimmera and surrounds.”
The program is designed to help people tackle their mental illness through support, encouragement and advice as needed, to foster hope and determination for change. The program will see individuals paired with a peer worker to work together for six sessions to identify a goal and achieve an outcome.
“We will help individuals to identify and achieve goals big or small to work towards a rewarding positive future. That is why we are so excited about this program, this is an opportunity for people in our region to get the support they need when they are struggling. The peer support relates to the individuals and what they are experiencing”, said Grampians Community Health peer-worker Shannan Flood.
Mr Little said that “The program is being delivered across the Wimmera including Horsham, Stawell and Ararat with the other three workers based at Ballarat Community Health”.
“The great thing about this program is that people can self-refer to the service by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling the number 1800 056 400, and they can also ask their GP to make a referral” said Mr Little.
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
Thank you to all Volunteers
How can we ever thank enough for the wonderful work all volunteers do to support our community health programs?
Your dedicated help is invaluable to each member of our community you assist, through a variety of Grampians Community Health programs.
Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said, “some of you drive people to medical appointments out of town, some run an ongoing, fantastically successful weekly exercise program for older people, others regularly visit people who are isolated and lonely, who want companionship, and a chance to get out and about, and some of you are trained to help GCH in relief and recovery centres during an emergency, such as a bushfire or a flood”.
During this National Volunteers Week, GCH would like to thank each and every one of you for your commitment and hard work. Because as Volunteers, you offer your skills, expertise, and life experience and the invisible thread you weave throughout our community adds another dimension to the fabric of our organisation.
As all Volunteers know, and many studies have shown, helping others promotes happiness – the more we give, the kinder we are, and the happier we feel. So, by being a Volunteer, you can help yourself while helping others.
To quote some of you:
“I love being a volunteer driver because I know I am helping people who have no-one else to drive them to their medical appointments. I would like to think that when I am older, I will have someone who would like to help me”
“When I lead an exercise class for older people, I feel I am really contributing to their wellbeing, to their physical, mental and emotional health. That gives me much enjoyment and satisfaction.”
“I love visiting people who really need company, and I enjoy their stories and conversation very much.”
“My Volunteering gives me a sense of being valued and of being of value to the community”.
If you are reading this article and are thinking you would like to Volunteer at GCH, call into one of our reception in Stawell, Ararat or Horsham or ring 5358 7400, we will help you through the steps you will need to take to become a Volunteer with us.
Workers health and wellbeing
One third of our waking hours are spent at work, making our workplaces an important place for our health and wellbeing. This is why a network of Ararat organisations and businesses not only committed to supporting and promoting Active April within their workplace during last month they are also focusing on employee health and wellbeing for the long term.
The increase in preventable disease and workplace injury resulting from unhealthy living is a major cause of workplace absence or disruption, and lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, excessive drinking; poor diet, inactivity and excess body weight can contribute to time away from work. Workplaces in the Ararat Rural City understand this, and have committed to ensuring their workers are encouraged and enabled to have good health while in their work environment. As a show of commitment a Workplace Health and Wellbeing Network has been established. The network is being coordinated by Health Promotion staff at Grampians Community Health and East Grampians Health and consists of a range of workplaces from large manufacturing companies, Health Services, Child and Sporting services, Local Government and small businesses. The aim of the network is to work as a collective to create supportive working environments and work culture as well as making the healthy choice the easy choice for the employee. So far the Network representatives have shared policies, program ideas, training opportunities, and general experience in implementing Health and Wellbeing strategies.
It has been estimated that the healthiest Australian employees are three times more productive at work than their colleagues which is a huge incentive for workplaces to take action. Sally Perry of AME Systems says ‘The benefits of a healthy workplace for employers are worth the investment. Benefits include such things as improved work performance and productivity, reduced absenteeism and sick leave, decreased incidence of attending work when sick, decreased frequency and cost of workers compensation, improved staff morale, satisfaction and motivation and improved corporate image and attraction/retention of employees.’
‘Traditionally, the health of our population has fallen on health services usually supporting people when they are becoming unwell or already sick’ informed Rachel Whittaker from Grampians Community Health. “We have now learnt that if we can provide the right environments to encourage good health, people not only perform better in these environments such as workplaces but it also contributes to their overall health in other parts of their life’ she added
If you would like more information on the networks progress or how to join please contact Rachel Whittaker at Grampians Community Health on 53587400
Young people in the Northern Grampians Shire will have a revamped FreeZa program for the next three years.
Grampians Community Health in partnership with Stawell Performing Arts Company Inc and the Stawell Neighbourhood House will work with young people aged 12-25 to deliver the FReeZA youth development program which provides opportunities to enjoy live band gigs, dance parties and other cultural, recreational and artistic events in drug, alcohol and smoke-free supervised and safe venues.
Grampians Community Health Chief Executive Greg Little said that the strength of the partnership would be in using the expertise of each organisation to develop the FreeZa program in the Northern Grampians Shire.
“Grampians Community Health has a strong focus on supporting young people, Stawell Performing Arts Company has expertise in artistic and music events and the Stawell Neighbourhood House provides training and activities in a welcoming space. The intention is to marry these together to grow the capacity of young people to deliver the activities” said Mr Little.
“The three organisations already have very strong youth involvement and connections which we will be able to draw from as well” added Mr Little.
A group of young people with an interest in leading the FreeZa program will be recruited and provided with training to identify and deliver FreeZa events.
Stawell Neighbourhood House Manager Lisa Arnfield said that the agency partnership will very much be about supporting the development of the young people involved in FreeZa.
“Our role is not going to be to tell young people what they want, in many ways it will be a mentoring role to help them problem solve and learn” said Mrs Arnfield.
Stawell Performing Arts Company Inc President Dianne Stewart said that she was looking forward to adding FreeZa events to the growing calendar of performances and activities already provided in the Northern Grampians.
“We already have a number of young people keen to be involved in the FreeZa program, either through the committee or by offering their experience as mentors. We hope that as more young people come on board that we can set up a really good foundation for the growth of the local FreeZa program” said Ms Stewart.
FreeZa is funded by the Victorian Government. The Central Grampians LLEN will also be delivering FreeZa programs in the Northern Grampians Shire.
Young People wanting to be part of leading the FreeZaNG can email GCH@GrampiansCommunityHealth.org.au
Celebrating the abilities and artistic skills of people with a disability was a focus of an arts exhibition and contest held by Grampians Community Health in December to recognise International Day of People with a Disability.
The exhibition was an overwhelming success with many entries on show. The people in the community who attended throughout the week voted for their preferred art and craft with Mason Chamberlin being declared the winner.
Mason said that his painting is about the churning in your heart when you are feeling anxious. “I was grateful for being able to participate in the exhibition and very happy with the result” said Mason.
Grampians Community Health CEO Greg Little said that the quality of the art shown and the involvement of people from the local community made this art show a wonderful event.
“We wanted to acknowledge the strength, abilities and contribution people with a disability make to our community and the arts showcase and competition really achieved this” said Mr Little
Grampians Community Health General Manager Kathy Day said that often we take our abilities for granted, for people with disabilities it is important for us all to be aware of their abilities as without the awareness often they become excluded from participating fully in our community.
“Inclusion is the key, and it is one of Grampians Community Health core values. When we adapt programs and events such as the arts and craft exhibition for people with special abilities, we witness the brilliance of people who can contribute to our community.” Said Mrs Day.
Grampians Community Health works with many people with a disability who have challenges and need support, knowing that by helping them to explore their special abilities it enhances their life and wellbeing. The Grampians Community Health approach is to focus in their strengths and ability to perform well on an activity, by taking in consideration that some people are more analytical, and others are more visual or sound oriented we are able to enhance their abilities.
Mrs Day added “Disability changes not only the life of the person, it changes their family and the community, identifying their strength and giving them the opportunity to participate, we all benefit”.
Grampians Community Health is a provider of services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“We are trying to be really flexible in the supports we provide eligible participants of the NDIS, providing the functional support and community inclusion that an individual needs” said Mr Little
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
Have you ever asked yourself what would Christmas be like if you were alone, couldn’t afford presents or to buy lunch for your family? Unfortunately, for some people in our community this will be the reality this Christmas. Grampians Community Health is again this year hoping to ease this burden with the help of some beautiful donations.
It takes compassion and understanding to act knowing that there are many people in our community who feel as if they don’t belong, they feel lonely and the rush for gifts during Christmas can be sad time.
Grampians Community Health (GCH) work closely with many in helping people during periods of crisis, illness or distress. In 2017 GCH were contacted 30,000 times by people seeking support in areas such as family violence, alcohol and drug issues, gambling addiction, NDIS programs, homelessness, behavioural change, or seeking to talk to someone such as a counsellor.
Grampians Community Health CEO Greg Little said that when the community comes together to help a person in need, the bond between people deepens and it creates a greater sense of belonging.
“This is exactly what Spotlight in Horsham has achieved by creating craft groups and donating gifts to Grampians Community Health to pass on to vulnerable people in our community” said Mr Little
Local businesses such as Spotlight play a big part in helping the community. Gemma Beavis the Healthy Communities Program Leader at GCH said “each time we hand a gift that was donated by the community to our clients, their eye lights up. They are so grateful because at these times they feel as if they are treated like humans and belong in the community. For a moment they forget their traumas and the solitude of facing difficult times in their lives.”
Grampians Community Health is grateful to many business and community groups who donate basic goods to help our clients.
“Sometimes all a person needs is a dignity pack, such as the bags donated by the Country Women’s Association to people facing difficult times and at risk of homelessness, without the community helping us, our job would be more difficult” said Ms Beavis
“It is true Christmas spirit which is incredibly appreciated by Grampians Community Health and the people we provide services too, thank you so much all the local business and the overall community for lending us a hand to continue to help vulnerable people in our communities, not just now but throughout the year” added Mr Little
Anyone wishing to access any of the Grampians Community Health services can easily do so by calling 5358 7400.
STAND UP, SPEAK OUT AND ACT
In Australia on average, one woman a week is killed by their intimate partner according to Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety. As we get closer to White Ribbon day, Grampians Community Health is calling out for this horrific reality to end.
“Being a man, a father, a brother, a son and a White Ribbon ambassador, I recognise that the movement to prevent men’s violence against women was built on the tireless efforts of women and women-led organisations throughout history,” said Daniel Bell, a family violence support worker at Grampians Community Health and White Ribbon Ambassador.
Grampians Community Health is an accredited White Ribbon organisation. White Ribbon acknowledges that men are also victims of family violence, but the undeniable fact is women are more likely than men to experience violence by an intimate partner; more likely to experience physical assault in their home and are more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner.
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said these statistics are the sad reality of men’s violence against women, and its men’s responsibility to stand up, speak out and act to prevent men’s violence against women.
“Men standing side by side with each other and with women can change the way our society has empowered men over women. We must make a change in our communities, in our workplaces, in our homes and work to shape the attitudes and behaviours of other men” said Mr Little.
Wearing white and walking together on the streets is an opportunity to reflect on past choices, actions and mistakes, the good and the bad. Sometimes it is not easy, it is painful but we need to realise that without appreciating the bad you cannot ever truly appreciate the good; you can never truly understand how your actions have impacted others without reflecting on your behaviour and learning to empathise with those who you may have hurt.
“So what can we do as men? Although it can be difficult sometimes we can challenge other men’s attitudes, be a role model and take action, and not be silent when we are aware of negative behaviours towards women” said Daniel Bell.
Grampians Community Health will take part in the White Ribbon marches in Ararat on the 20th of November and in Horsham and Stawell on the 23rd of November.
‘Back fairness this election’, Wimmera organisations tell pollies.
People in rural and remote parts of the Wimmera are being denied the services they need and dramatic change is needed, local social service bodies have warned.
In a united call to all parties ahead of the state election, leaders from multiple agencies have urged candidates to address inequities and support organisations that are working to combat discrimination and disadvantage.
The organisations include Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership, Women’s Health Grampians, Grampians Disability Advocacy, Grampians Community Health and the Warracknabeal-based disability organisation Woodbine.
Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership‘s Emily Anderson said the region’s health workforce is suffering.
“There are gaps in specialist expertise, inadequate resources and training opportunities and considerable staff turnover,” she said.
“This has lead to worrying levels of uncertainty and instability across the sector and compromised patient outcomes, particularly in rural areas”
Marianne Hendron, CEO of Women’s Health Grampians, warned of growing disparities in pay and leadership, and the over representation of women in unpaid or poorly paid roles.
“This is compounded by reduced access to important services, including family violence support and sexual and reproductive health services,” she said.
“Strategies to address inequities in these and other areas need to be sustained, meaningful and well targeted.”
Grampians Disability Advocacy‘s Deb Verdon also backed the call, saying Wimmera people with a disability face significant barriers to full community participation.
“At every turn a person with a disability is asked to provide medical evidence about their situation, be it by Centrelink or the NDIS,” Ms Verdon said.
“Reports from GPs are no longer good enough. Support agencies demands a report from a specialist, but where are the specialists to be found?”
Greg Little, CEO of Grampians Community Health, says policymakers and political leaders need to realise that “rural and remote” is not the same as “regional”.
“People in small rural communities have the same right to access services as those in metropolitan or regional communities,” he said.
“The tyranny of distance, poor digital connectivity and a lack of public transport require government to ensure local services can extend into these areas.”
“This can be achieved by adequate funding that measures the outcomes for rural people not just how many people come through the door.”
Woodbine CEO Bernie O’Connor nominated a chronic lack of suitable accommodation for people with disabilities as a major concern for the region.
“Woodbine receives ongoing enquiries from increasingly desperate guardians who are seeking suitable accommodation for vulnerable people and those with particular support needs.
“The uncertain status of accommodation for people with a disability has been reflected in the absence of investors and new designs. Where once the support funding was the significant hurdle, under NDIS it seems that it is now the absence of appropriate infrastructure.”
The joint call is part of the organisations’ membership of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS), the peak body for the state’s social and community sector.
VCOSS CEO Emma King said policymakers and political candidates must listen closely to the voices of regional communities.
“People in local communities are best placed to identify local challenges and develop local solutions,” she said.
For further information on this story or comment, please contact:
VCOSS media enquiries: Ryan Sheales
0418 127 153
Getting the help you need locally is one of the key philosophies of Grampians Community Health. Local support is the key!
Grampians Community Health CEO Mr Greg Little said that more and more often people are required to travel to regional centres or the city to get assistance, and this can be cost prohibitive and appointments can take time to get to.
We understand this, as GCH is a part of rural communities – often meetings we need to go to are in far flung cities, the lack of understanding that a one hour appointment in Melbourne is a whole day is often not there.
Grampians Community Health is continuing to look at how we can provide services for people and their families in their own towns with offices in Stawell, Ararat, Warracknabeal and St Arnaud, and in many cases GCH, workers and volunteers may even come to you. Very few GCH programs have a cost to attend.
“We have just opened our new premises in Darlot St Horsham meaning better facilities and access for people in the Wimmera” added Mr Little.
Grampians Community Health has programs for individuals and families including: withdrawal and rehabilitation if you are impacted by gambling, alcohol and drugs, generalist counselling, support and intervention of family violence, avoiding homelessness, coping as a younger person or a LGBTI+ community member, being a supported older person, making social connections, and living life to the fullest as a person with a disability.
Mr Little said that the National Disability Insurance Scheme and My Aged Care have opened up a lot of choice and options for people to access.
“As a local service organisation we are seeing a lot of older people and people with a disability choose to use Grampians Community Health under these new programs, and with this GCH has been able to expand the programs we offer to meet an individual’s request” said Mr Little