“Many believe they will personally never be affected by mental illness…”

Eastlakes-based not-for-profit organisation South Eastern Community Connect (SECC) will be delivering a range of programs as part of Mental Health Month in October.

SECC is in the process of launching The CADRE Project, which is being delivered under the Stronger Communities Grant received through Bayside Council.

Based on an international model, The CADRE Project offers training and education to community members to bring greater understanding about mental health issues.

SECC has already rolled out one training session, and has another coming up in October as part of Mental Health Month.

Project Coordinator Linda Castellazzi says the SECC will train up to 20 people at a time on how to support friends and family members struggling with a mental illness.

“There are many stigmas in the community, such as that people with mental illness are dangerous, and that they will never improve,” Castellazzi says.

“Many also believe they will personally never be affected by mental illness.

“Running these training sessions helps the community to take an active role in helping neighbours, children, and friends to understand such illnesses as anxiety, depression, and so on, and help those who are affected.”

Drumming up support 

In another initiative for Mental Health Month, South Eastern Community Connect (SECC) is also running a series of free workshops designed to boost mental health – from drumming classes through to art therapy and mindfulness training.

Led by a registered music therapist, the drumming sessions will have a therapeutic element.

Each class, running for Monday 8th October for eight weeks, is designed to help students find their own rhythm, boost their self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety, and connect with others in a positive way.

The drumming classes will be held at Alf Kay Eastlakes Community Centre from 2pm to 3pm each week.

The art of life

Another event organised by SECC as part of Mental Health Month is Art Therapy, with classes starting on Friday 19th October.

The sessions give participants the chance to have fun, explore their own creativity, build their self-esteem, express themselves, and engage in a rewarding therapeutic experience.

All skill levels are welcome, and the sessions will run from 10am to 11.30am every Friday for eight weeks at Alf Kay Eastlakes Community Centre.

Stress relief through mindfulness 

SECC is also running a practical course for the community which trains participants in mindfulness techniques.

The Introduction to Mindfulness course will run in partnership with The Recovery College over five weeks, starting Thursday 25th October.

Participants are invited to come along from 11am to 1pm and learn how to reduce stress, improve concentration, accept emotions, and improve their overall wellbeing.

Mental Health Month is recognised and celebrated throughout the month of October in NSW, and aims to promote the importance of early intervention practices for positive mental health and wellbeing and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

The awareness campaign is held annually in October to coincide with the World Health Organisation’s recognition of World Mental Health Day, which is celebrated on 10th October.

Call 02 8338 8506 for more information on any of the above programs.

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