WITH the World Health Organisation forecasting that mental illness will be the greatest burden to mankind by 2030, with one in every four people suffering a mental illness at some stage in their life, with suicide rates in rural areas significantly higher than those in the city, it’s very clear that things have just got to change.
These horrifying stats are exactly what inspired the formation of Where There’s A Will - an Upper Hunter-based charity on a mission to enhance mental health in our community.
Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises their potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and can make a contribution to their community.
Research has found that the theory of ‘PERMA’ provides the building blocks for maximizing well-being; with PERMA standing for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement.
This will be the first of a regular monthly column where we explain just what we’re doing to promote PERMA in the Upper Hunter.
Schools are a massive target of our work.
By teaching children skills to maximise their wellbeing, we have the potential to defy the predictions and create a mentally fit community.
Subsequently we’re providing training for teachers in positive psychology, we’re providing leadership opportunities for students and we’re providing resources to implement positive education programs in 24 schools across the Upper Hunter.
We’re mindful that educating children about mental health can’t be entirely outsourced to schools.
We’re also creating opportunities for parents and carers to learn more about what they can do to support wellbeing in homes.
Just last week we organised for leading child and teenage psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg to come to the Upper Hunter to address the challenges of millennial parenting.
The huge attendance reflected the genuine determination of this community to make change happen in the area of mental health.
Providing free Mental Health First Aid training to as many people as possible is also a key focus for Where There’s A Will.
This training teaches the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to help those struggling and we’re delighted that hundreds have already made the most of this opportunity.
Following this brief overview of what we’re all about, next month we’ll be handing over to one of our five Upper Hunter high schools to showcase how they’re implementing PERMA in their school.
For further information, visit www.uhwheretheresawill.com.au