FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton
(Photo: Twitter)

July 10, 2019

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) has announced it has a pool of $100,000 available for projects that improve mental health in rural Australia.

The “In A Good Place” grants program is being jointly run by FRRR and CCI Giving.

Grants of up to $20,000 are available for community-driven initiatives that reduce social isolation, increase social participation, and encourage people in rural communities to seek help.

FRRF says getting mental health support in rural areas is more difficult than in metropolitan areas:

  • There is a higher suicide rate, especially in men and Indigenous people, despite the prevalence of poor mental health being around the same as in urban areas
  • Mental health services and specialists may only be available a considerable distance away, or have long waiting lists; and
  • People are unwilling or unable to seek help due to a culture of self-reliance, fear of stigma, or not knowing where to get help

FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton said investing in mental health in rural communities is not only critical but also has broader benefits.

“According to the National Mental Health Commission, the cost of mental ill-health in Australia is more the $60 billion each year,” Ms Egleton said.

“Research shows that by improving mental health, there is increased community resilience and social connectedness, leading to increased productivity, economic participation, and employment.”

Priority will be given to initiatives that:

  • Are delivered by non-clinical providers of mental health care, such as school counsellors and teachers, members of the clergy or pastoral care teams, neighbourhood or community groups, or via technological or other innovative methods
  • Improve the accessibility and availability of mental health services, tools or support to areas with limited or no access to the same
  • Provide innovative responses that are inclusive and build social connections that lead to better mental health
  • Confront stigma surrounding help-seeking behaviour

Applications for the latest round of the program open on July 9 and close on August 13.

Further information on the guidelines is available on the In A Good Place web page.

FRRR expects this will be a highly competitive program and has strongly recommended potential applicants contact them to discuss the suitability of their project before applying.

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