Community event celebrates healthy mental wellbeing

Belly dancers performing with coloured scarves

APM Communities recently linked with a vibrant community event highlighting the importance of positive mental wellbeing.

The Peel Wellness Wednesday event, which celebrated WA Mental Health Week, was held in October, and offered a variety of free activities and information from local mental health services.

Wellness Wednesday is held annually by a group of local organisations that are dedicated to helping people with mental health challenges. It also promotes mental health services available in the Peel region.

The event assists community involvement by encouraging people to volunteer or join local groups and activities.

Wellness Wednesday featured market stalls, music, dancing, and a sausage sizzle organised by Mandurah’s Lions Club.

APM Communities team member and Wellness Wednesday chair, Sonya Snowsill said COVID-19 had affected the local community leaving some struggling with mental health issues due to job loss, broken relationships, and social isolation.

“People really struggled with isolation and they didn’t know where to get help. One woman had family members coming to her for help but then she was at loss of where to seek services,” Sonya said.

“It was a matter of connecting her with support. The event further highlighted what was available in the community. It was important to have community groups which could offer activities and a sense of belonging.”

She said that Wellness Wednesday encouraged cultural diversity and social inclusion from diverse communities including people living with disability, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, LGBTQIA+, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, youth and homeless.

“We also had some micro-businesses which sold locally created goods and offered a point of difference to the overarching theme,” said Sonya.

Sonya said the group behind Wellness Wednesday’s success followed accessible event guidelines. These included:

  • Managed accessible parking
  • Managed drop off for buses and cars
  • All images on the web were tagged with a descriptor
  • Promoted changing places facilities
  • Provided a site map with location of toilets, parking, and a quiet zone

Sonya said support received from community groups, services and local businesses was overwhelming.

"Everyone understood the importance of community coming together to support good mental wellbeing.”

She said as part of the post survey people attending the event were asked what they enjoyed most about the event - the positive comments reflected community spirit, fun and friendliness coupled with overwhelming satisfaction for the useful information related to the range of groups, clubs, and services.

Soon after Wellness Wednesday, the group met to debrief, evaluate, and celebrate the day and end of 2020.

“Meeting dates were agreed for February 2021 to start planning for next year and members are keen to evolve and build on the great work done over the past 15 years,” Sonya said.

As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.