A unique grant program aiming to start conversations and raise awareness of people struggling with mental health welcomes applicants each year. Applications are now open for the grants for 2022.
As part of Mental Health Month in October, the 2022 Mental Health Month ACT Reimbursement Grant Program allows community groups and organisations to apply for up to $5000 to support programs and activities during Mental Health Week.
Charities, schools, universities and faith-based groups in the ACT can also apply.
Mega Mums Exercise Group Australia director Lyndal Lammers said the grants were a great opportunity to get people together to talk about mental health and celebrate it.
“As a small community organisation, we wait for any opportunity to support our mums with events we can offer. Whether that’s exercise or social events, which we’ve been able to do since receiving this grant,” she said.
“A lot of mums are really missing that social interaction after COVID. It’s great we can now try to bring it all back.”
Ms Lammers said Mega Mums had received two grants over the past two years as part of Mental Health Week.
“In 2020, we were able to provide 15 of our volunteers with a two-day mental health course and training through the grant, as well as all the course material,” she said.
“It was just like first-aid training. You never know when you’re going to need it until you’re in that scenario. But our volunteers really benefitted from it and now use the skills and knowledge they learnt in their everyday lives which is great to see.
“We also got to teach our volunteers about different kinds of help and we treated them to a nice lunch too.”
The organisation’s second grant in 2021 enabled 50 mums from the exercise group to head to Inflatable World in Kambah.
“We were super lucky to receive a grant again in 2021. But unfortunately because we were locked down for some time, I couldn’t run the Inflatable World event with a lot of people,” she said.
“It wasn’t the best timing to try and run a bigger event with the kids either, so it was a mums-only event.
“I’m hoping to run a family event at Inflatable World this year where kids, mums and their partners can come along, meet each other and have some fun.”
Ms Lammers said the process to apply for the grants was straightforward and definitely worth it.
“It’s great for small organisations like us who are run by volunteers,” she said.
“We think these grants can help support many people in the Canberra community and encourage more people to get involved and volunteer.”
Coordinated by the Mental Health Community Coalition ACT (MHCC ACT), Mental Health Week from 8-16 October forms part of the wider Mental Health Month ACT.
MHCC ACT CEO Bec Cody said groups could put the funding towards any type of event or activity.
“As long as they are positive, encouraging, informative and supportive events about mental health and wellbeing,” she said.
“Mental Health Month is an opportunity to raise community awareness and understanding of mental health, reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health conditions, and promote positive mental health and wellbeing.”
Ms Cody said this year’s Mental Health Month theme was ‘Awareness, Belonging and Connection’.
“It is about coming together not only to find out how to care for our own mental wellbeing, but to learn how to reach out to others to give them support, and build networks to help us be happy and healthy,” she said.
“This funding will allow us to support a few larger events while still helping the smaller ones that have been the backbone of Mental Health Month ACT in previous years.”
Applications for the 2022 Mental Health Month ACT Reimbursement Grant remain open until Thursday, 30 June.
To apply for the grants, visit Mental Health Month ACT.