Resilient communities supporting individuals to flourish: a Friends ‘My Place’ story

  • Channel Country Ladies Day, Jundah, 2016. Photo: CentacareCQ
    Channel Country Ladies Day, Jundah, 2016. Photo: CentacareCQ
  • CQ Wellbeing Hub Inc. members with their newly developed program logic. Photo: CQ Wellbeing Hubs Inc.
    3 CQ Wellbeing Hub Inc. members with their newly developed program logic. Photo: CQ Wellbeing Hubs Inc.
  • Wheel of Wellbeing workshop, The Gemfields, 2019, with participants from The Gemfields, Tieri, Emerald and Blackwater. Photo: Aaron Kirk, AK Images
    Wheel of Wellbeing workshop, The Gemfields, 2019, with participants from The Gemfields, Tieri, Emerald and Blackwater. Photo: Aaron Kirk, AK Images

The Central Highlands in Queensland is the location for a mental health and wellbeing project looking to nurture and connect communities to enable them to flourish and build resilience.
 
A compelling body of evidence links our happiness with longer and more fulfilling lives, better mental and physical health, stronger relationships and a range of other psychological, social and economic benefits. The team behind the Wheel of Wellbeing (WoW), South London and Maudsley, developed an approach to mental wellbeing that moves away from mental ill health, towards a focus on positive mental health and wellbeing.  

As part of its Queensland Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention Action Plan, the Queensland Mental Health Commission (QMHC) provided opportunities for communities to develop local ‘hubs’ focussed on health promotion and prevention. As part of this strategy, QMHC provided the hub participants with access to training and development in the WoW framework. The Central Highlands in Queensland was one of the hub locations. The Central Highlands Mental Health and Wellbeing Hub project, hosted by CentacareCQ and supported by Central Highlands Regional Council and CQ Rural Health, commenced in.  

In mid-2019, as the project comes to an end, the volunteers and stakeholders involved in the project have decided to develop Central Queensland Wellbeing Hubs Inc. (the Hubs Inc.), an incorporated association. Their purpose continues to be to promote more of the activities that help individuals and communities to flourish, reducing the need to access mental health services that are essential, but scarce in rural settings, in the first place.  

It is important to note that the Hubs Inc. approach is NOT about delivering services to people with mental illness – it’s about identifying what increases individual and community wellbeing and then supporting individuals and communities to facilitate more of those activities.  
 
The Wheel of Wellbeing (WoW) framework teaches simple techniques to promote wellbeing, using a positive psychology approach, where the focus is on mental wellness, wellbeing and flourishing.  

There are six universal themes to the Wheel of Wellbeing: Body-Mind-Spirit-People-Place-Planet.

The purpose of the WoW workshops and sessions is to allow participants to explore and try out for themselves activities that promote positive mental health and wellness, and to get them thinking about their own wellbeing or that of the community they reside in. The workshops also give the participants a deeper understanding of the concepts underpinning good mental health and wellbeing, and a grounding in the WoW framework, which they can then use as a tool to manage their own wellbeing.

Over the past three and a half years, small communities in the Central Highlands, including; Willows-Gemfields, Blackwater, Capella, Tieri and Springsure have participated in a range of WoW workshops, Do-It-Yourself Happiness programs, short sessions and activities.  

Participants have commented on what was most useful to them and responses have included:
“The reminder to be intentional about taking time out for yourself”
“Information gained - then how to apply it in my life”
“Graph showing attitude is 50 per cent to happiness; it's a state of mind to be happy.”
“Understanding how some activities calm us and how we can use them to reset our attitude to make sure we are more positive in our outlook and more content.”
“Great tool building with friends. Thinking of others and being blessed with what we have in life.”

Recently, the Hubs Inc. has developed its program logic for the next three years, with the resultant vision of Resilient communities that support individuals to flourish.  As the funded project comes to an end, it leaves behind a core group of individuals with increased capacity to work towards this vision.

Showcasing the diversity of life in rural and remote Australian, in the Friends 'My Place: where I live and work' series, members of Friends of the Alliance talk about their life and work and what's special about where they live.

 

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