With the hope of tackling loneliness and isolation in the community, Mt Gravatt Community Centre recently launched the Ways to Wellness Social Isolation Project.
According to Member for Mansfield Corrine McMillan, this program is the first of its kind in Australia.
“This initiative will help us learn how to better respond to social isolation and loneliness in Mt Gravatt and the surrounding community,” Ms McMillan said.
Ways to Wellness Social Isolation Project
The project aims to reduce social isolation with the help of ‘social prescribing’. This process focuses on helping people connect with their local community by supporting them in joining a group, club, activity or even an exercise class.
Associate Professor Genevieve Dingle of the UQ School of Psychology said the initiative can address the serious health consequences caused by loneliness and social isolation.
According to Dr Dingle, loneliness has significant effects on health and well-being. It has been linked to poor mental health and increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and premature death.
Social isolation reportedly poses a greater health threat than smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise. It also affects people of all ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds.
Mt Gravatt Community Centre Tackles Social Isolation
In November 2018, Mt Gravatt Community Centre secured a government funding of $100,000 for the said project. It also got more than $200,000 funding from the Federal Government.
Acting Minister for Communities Shannon Fentiman acknowledged the need to reduce social isolation in the community.
“We know that social isolation can be experienced by people of all ages in Queensland communities and can lead to significant mental health issues – including depression and suicide,” Ms Fentiman said.
“By building individual resilience and community capacity to address social isolation, we can support individuals and communities to thrive and prevent unnecessary reliance on primary, secondary and in some cases tertiary health care.”
Mt Gravatt Community Centre Link Workers Wendy Blackmon and Elise Ganley are ready to help people overcome social isolation. They will assist those who need help and discuss their health and wellbeing goals. Furthermore, they will identify groups or activities in the local area that align with the individual’s interests.
Both Link Workers have a vast knowledge of the local community. If you are living in or near Mt Gravatt and interested in trying a new activity or joining a group, you may reach them through the following:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call: 0412 679 833
The Ways to Wellness Social Isolation Project will not only be beneficial to the Mt Gravatt community. The social prescribing initiative will also help researchers in developing a model to be used in multiple settings across Australia.