Peer to peer prevention: About The Banksia Project
Author: The Simple Bit
#NotTober is supporting The Banksia Project. So we caught up with Program Director Jack Jones to learn more.
The simple bits:
- #NotTober is supporting The Banksia Project
- The Banksia Project has been going since 2015
- It provides mental health preventative programs for men
- An estimated 72% of males are not seeking help for mental disorders
- Get behind #NotTober to show your support
Jack Jones was a strapping, well-educated male who played elite sport, with supportive friends and family. But when he went through tough times with severe depression and suicidality, he realised he didn’t know how to deal with his emotions. And he wasn’t alone. “If I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions safely and effectively with all the support that I had, how many other people don’t?” says Jones.
It was this realisation that brought Jack to The Banksia Project. Starting as a participant, then a volunteer and now as its Program Director (and first full-time employee). “I came to a Banksia event as a member of the public and just fell in love with the whole preventative aspect. Let’s teach people the skills they need before crisis, rather than waiting for crisis to occur and then reacting to that,” he says.
Peer to peer prevention
The Banksia Project started in 2015 with a focus on mental wellness and early intervention in mental health to encourage prevention and recovery. Its (totally free) ‘Growth Room’ programs deliver peer to peer, community-led support in a safe and supportive environment. It’s targeted at men over 18, who need a safe space to talk about life’s challenges and learn ways to cope with them. In Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death for men between the ages of 25 and 44, largely as a result of men not seeking help in the early stages. The Banksia Project, through their free Growth Room sessions held monthly in local communities, seek to get to men before they get to that point.
The Banksia Project started in 2015 with a focus on mental wellness and early intervention in mental health to encourage prevention and recovery.
Prevention is key – giving men the tools they need in a safe, nurturing environment. “This could mean practical skills they can go and use when things get tough. How they can effectively communicate with friends, or loved ones, or colleagues, or how they can impact their mental health by eating right, sleeping right, and looking out for their own personal hygiene,” says Jack. A focus on actionable, practical steps is a focus. “There’s a wealth of conversation about, “Are you okay?”, says Jack. “That’s an amazing thing, but there’s not a whole lot that say, “Well if you’re not okay what next?” The Banksia Project are focused on the ‘what next’.
Another important aspect of The Banksia Project is its peer-to-peer nature. Experts are on hand if needed, but primarily it’s blokes helping other blokes in a relaxed environment. To Jack, “The Banksia Project’s programs are all about providing a safe space for people to be vulnerable, and truly honest, and connect and support one another through challenges but also through triumphs.” It’s this honesty that makes the programs more attractive to men who might not otherwise seek much-needed help.
Get amongst it
So why are we telling you all of this? Well, #NotTober is supporting The Banksia Project, so every time you post a pic of yourself doing nothing much, with the #NotTober hashtag and tag @ahmhealthinsurance, ahm makes a $10 donation.* And what does that mean for The Banksia Project? Pretty simple: they get to help more blokes.
“The more support we are given, the more free programs we can provide,” says Jack. “$25 pays for one man to go through our Growth Room program for 12 months.”
It might be time to start doing nothing much, hey?
Stop doing stuff...for charityFind out more
Find out more about The Banksia Project, your nearest Growth Room and how you can get involved here.
If you require urgent mental health support or emotional assistance, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
*ahm donated $10 per eligible post for the first 10,000 posts during October 2019.