Connect Well East Gippsland and Wellington is a partnership of health organisations working together to promote wellbeing in Outer Gippsland in response to drought and bushfires.

Elbow Community Building works the Connect Well partnership as a Facilitator of their mental health promotion programs.

In 2019 the Department of Health and Human Services brought together the organisations that provide mental wellbeing support in Outer Gippsland (East Gippsland and Wellington Shire). This group worked together to provide extra counselling support for people in the area impacted by the drought. During this work there were bushfires in Wellington Shire around Rosedale and Dargo, and not long afterwards the devastating 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires in East Gippsland. 

In response to this, the group recognised that building resilience and promoting wellbeing were ongoing priorities for the region and formalised as ‘Connect Well East Gippsland and Wellington’ –

The partnership includes Gippsland Lakes Complete Health, Relationships Australia Victoria, the Royal Flying Doctors Service Victoria, Lifeline Gippsland, Omeo and District Health, Orbost Regional Health, Central Gippsland Health, and Yarram and District Health Service. 

Connect Well has and continues to undertake a wide and diverse program of mental health promotion including: 

  • Counselling that fills the gaps in the current system
  • Mental health training
  • Funding for community building activities that promote social connection and community resilience
  • A social marketing campaign focused on increasing help-seeking for mental wellbeing
  • The production of the Channel 10 TV series Beyond the Fire
  • Support to remote communities for access to remote wellbeing resources


Elbow Community Building has been working with the partnership since March 2020. This work has included:

  • Designing and delivering a community building program for both fire and drought affected communities resulting in more than 30 separate projects that promote social connection and community resilience. These projects have been codesigned with the community and other stakeholders primarily Community Recovery Committees, community groups, Bushfire Recovery Victoria and East Gippsland Shire Council.
  • Partnership facilitation including secretariat work, program management, drafting and consulting on Memorandum of Understanding and Terms of Reference, as well as acting as a contact person for the partnership during stakeholder engagement
  • Funding body reporting, liaison and development of new funding submissions, analysis and alignment with the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System
  •  Contract management of a comprehensive development evaluation project with evaluation consultants Clear Horizon.

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