New grant to make a big impact

New grant to make a big impact

A new national grants program, In a Good Place, will drive positive change in our rural communities, by investing in mental health and wellbeing.

If you live in the Australian bush or outback and you need urgent medical care, there’s a good chance you’ll be waiting at least two days to see a doctor. This was revealed in research into mental health in rural communities, by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

Their findings reveal that some seven million Australians living in remote and rural areas have poorer health outcomes on average compared to their city counterparts, and premature death rates are higher. Health care services are just much harder to access. It’s concerning, given mental disorders impact these people at the same rate as those of city residents.

Through CCI Giving, the Impact Grants Program partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) has launched In a Good Place. It’s a program that carries an annual funding pool of $200,000 and offers two open call grant rounds each year.

Providing support for community-driven initiatives at the grassroots level will help to reduce social isolation, promote a stronger sense of connectedness, and encourage people experiencing mental health problems to reach out.

“When it comes to mental health in the bush, there is still so much stigma attached. People feel ambivalent about seeking the help they need,” says Roberto Scenna, Director of CCI Giving and CEO of CCI.

“These outpost communities know what’s best for them, which is why applications are open to non-clinical initiatives that could develop in a range of settings.”

The iconic ‘Flying Doctors’ has just celebrated 90 years of health care service in regional and rural areas. Scenna says the aeromedical retrieval service they provide is an inspiration, and yet few may know they also provide mental health, social and emotional wellbeing programs to Australians living in remote places.

“CCI Giving is evolving as a foundation in unique ways. Developing this particular program gives us a vantage point where we can see more clearly the biggest differences that supporting local solutions makes for communities. It’s aligned with local leaders and has a strong long-term partnership with FRRR, which is well-known for its unique grassroots access and expertise in rural communities around Australia.”

In a Good Place is a big opportunity for small communities to get more support in building resilient, mental health care services. CCI Giving and the FRRR partnership will offer grants up to $20,000 to communities across the country with a population under 10,000. It encourages all eligible organisations to apply, especially those that deliver inclusive, responsive and local solutions.

Scenna says, “We need to build bridges and social connectivity, and reduce the stigma that people feel towards getting support for mental health issues. In a Good Place is a commitment to strengthening the mental wellbeing of people in remote and rural areas.”

Applications open on 9 July and closes on 20 August, and further information on the guidelines are available at www.frrr.org.au/in_a_good_place