Pictured is Mary Denver and David who shared their lived experiences
On Monday 12 October, COTA Queensland, the Moreton Bay Regional Council and Wellways Australia delivered a Queensland Mental Health Week event, “Well Connected: Our Wellbeing” at the Caboolture Hub.
This event aimed to bring together local community members aged 50 and over, their carers and families to increase awareness of local supports and services, encourage conversations about mental health to challenge stigma and promote help-seeking behaviour, and to support carers, particularly ageing carers, to sustain good mental health. It also aimed to empower older people, their carers and families to feel confident accessing services and supports online, to stay well and maintain social connections in the face of changing circumstances.
The event provided a networking opportunity for local community members, groups and organisations, and attracted around 43 participants, including 23 local community members, speakers, stallholders and local artists. After enjoying some live relaxing music in the foyer, the event began with a Welcome to Country by Uncle Mick Douglas, Uncle Gordon Cowburn and Nicole Douglas who are direct descendants of the Kabi Kabi peoples. The partners were committed to ensuring the voice of lived experience both guided and featured strongly at the event, with talks on “changing the past” and “carer and caree mental health”. There was also an opportunity to try chair yoga and guided meditation and community members were invited to join art therapy classes and gallery tours. The afternoon sessions featured talks on navigating mental health and carer gateway service supports in the Moreton Bay region and Council provided insights into a range of programs, including Healthy and Active Moreton, library programs, museums and galleries, and their environmental centres. There was also an opportunity for the community to engage in interactive sessions, including reminiscence therapy, art classes, health promotion and education, memory box and wisdom tree activities and device advice sessions.
We had a diversity of community organisations represented at the event, including Wellways Australia (Carer Gateway Services and #StampedeStigma campaign), Moreton Bay Regional Council, YourCaring Ways, STRIDE Hub Caboolture, USC Indigenous Services, Footprints in Brisbane Inc and Change Futures.
One participant commented afterwards, “It was hard for me (to attend) and I wasn’t comfortable at first, but I felt good afterwards“. Others said they felt less alone after hearing the stories of lived experience from carers and carees. Others expressed a real interest in pursuing some of the activities they had engaged in, like Chair Yoga, en plein air painting, art therapy and Memory Box discussion groups.
COTA Queensland, the Moreton Bay Regional Council and Wellways Australia would like to thank everyone involved and all the local community members who came along on the day!
This event was a recommendation by the Older Persons Action Group, formed by COTA Queensland to progress actions in the Brisbane North PHN funded ‘Planning for Wellbeing’ project. The event was delivered in partnership with COTA Queensland, the Moreton Bay Regional Council and Wellways Australia and funded by the Queensland Mental Health Week Grants Program.