Communities to work together for mental fitness

GOTCHA4LIFE: Di Gill, Tom Norris, Mayor Phyllis Miller, Claire Nicholson, Mayor Ken Keith, Ross Williams and Marg Applebee. Photo: Jenny Kingham
GOTCHA4LIFE: Di Gill, Tom Norris, Mayor Phyllis Miller, Claire Nicholson, Mayor Ken Keith, Ross Williams and Marg Applebee. Photo: Jenny Kingham

An exciting new collaboration between Gotcha4Life, Landcare NSW, the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program and Surf Lifesaving NSW is bringing new programs with a focus on building mental fitness to the Parkes and Forbes shires.

The four organisations saw the opportunity to work together, delivering workshops and training focussed on the concept of 'prevention through connection'.

Forbes Shire Mayor, Cr Phyllis Miller and Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM have expressed the support of both councils for the outlay of programs.

After several years of drought and then COVID-19, now is the time to continue working on these important aspects of our community health.

Gotcha4Life is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to connecting corporate Australia, government, community and NFP to help prevent and reduce instances of poor mental health in Australia.

"We are so excited to work alongside such powerful and purpose-driven organisations, who have local reach into communities across NSW, enabling us to build mental fitness with local relevance and sustainable impact," CEO Tim Hodgson said.

Founder of Gotcha4Life and television and radio personality, Gus Worland, says their vision "is a world where people are open, honest and supportive in their relationships and comfortable to express themselves when they are not ok".

"We envisage a society in which everyone has a Gotcha4Life mate who they can open up to and rely on no matter what," he said.

"This collaboration will be vital to help engage people across NSW who are battling with the effects of drought, fire and COVID-19."

Marg Applebee, Coordinator for Central West Lachlan Landcare, and Di Gill, RAHMHP Consultant are pleased to be working with Gotcha4Life to help activate these programs the Parkes and Forbes shires.

"While Landcare NSW's mission is to continue to care for the land and environment, it is founded on a series of close-knit communities that we need to support," Dr Adrian Zammit, Chief Executive Officer at Landcare NSW, said.

"With over 70 Local Coordinators supported by their own local Landcare groups across NSW, we have the opportunity to assist with facilitation of this important program across the State.

"The value we all gain from investing in these relationships and harnessing Landcare NSW's extensive network means thousands of members across NSW will be able to have access to the mental fitness programs and powerful messaging that Gotcha4Life can bring."

The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program has 20 coordinators who live and work across NSW who connect people to local services and information.

RAMHP Manager Tessa Caton said continuing to find new ways of building mental fitness and capacity in rural communities was absolutely essential after the challenges 2020 has brought.

"RAMHP will provide the advice that only a 'local' knows about each rural community and where to get help for your mental health," she said.

"Our extensive range of rural mental health education sessions will complement the inspiring workshops powered by Gotcha4Life that redefine masculinity and femininity.

"We are looking forward to working with Gotcha4Life, Landcare NSW and Surf Lifesaving NSW to ensure our rural communities have access to a full suite of mental fitness programs and are equipped with the skills and tools to cope with ongoing challenges."

Whilst Surf Life Saving NSW isn't an organisation that we rely on day to day in the country, they are an important link in this partnership bring the hub of many coastal communities and are well-placed to provide practical support for initiatives and programs on the ground.