As part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Hazelwood Mine Fire, Lifeline Gippsland was commissioned to work with the Latrobe Valley community to develop an education session that would help people support each other’s mental health and wellbeing.
During 2018 Sam worked with a group of volunteers called ‘Friends of Lifeline’ to codesign the content and structure of the session, which was based around the key messages of the ‘R U OK’ campaign. This material was chosen as the campaign is so well recognised in the community.
The simple key steps promoted by R U OK are to Ask, Listen, Encourage Action and Check in when helping someone with their mental health. Sam worked with the Friends of Lifeline group to build a 1hr. facilitated conversation about these steps, including local community knowledge and input.
The session was delivered to over 300 people in the Latrobe Valley including:
This project was a great example of tackling a major social issue or question from a community development perspective. It did this by taking the approach that people actually do know how to look after each other and tapping into this knowledge to speak directly about mental health. Volunteers in the project were involved in every step along the way and several went on to volunteer at Lifeline in other capacities and to use the experience to gain further employment.