Gearing up for a busy new year | Mindful Margaret River

Team effort: Some members of the Mindful Margaret River Taskforce recently celebrated the first birthday of the busy local group. Photo: Supplied
Team effort: Some members of the Mindful Margaret River Taskforce recently celebrated the first birthday of the busy local group. Photo: Supplied

Mindful Margaret River (MMR) is gearing up for the coming new year and is inviting new community members to join its energetic voluntary community taskforce.

MMR chair Stuart Hicks said the recruiting drive would add additional skills and capacity to the work of Mindful Margaret River in 2021.

"For many people 2020 has been the year from hell. The pressures on everybody's peace of mind have been huge," Mr Hicks said. "COVID-19 has intensified feelings of isolation. For many there has been great anxiety, family and financial worries and personal difficulties.

"While we all hope for a safer and happier New Year, we guess there will be delights and challenges, familiar and novel, in the year to come.

"It's great to meet these things together."

Mindful Margaret River is an alliance of community volunteers, working with professional caregivers, key health institutions like the Mental Health Commission, WA Country Health Service, WA Primary health Alliance, together with Police and the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, to support and build the mental wellbeing of people in the Shire.

In December, Mindful Margaret River celebrates its first birthday.

"The main aim of MMR is to help join our community together. Everybody is welcome to join us," Mr Hicks said.

"Our work is diverse. We welcome young and old, people who have been through the mill themselves, or people who'd just like to help others. The main requirement is just a bit of get-up-and-go, and a willingness to put a bit of time aside.

"We don't try to replace the work of professional caregivers, but there's a lot we can do to support their work and to build the resilience of our community."

Mr Hicks said projects planned by Mindful Margaret River for 2021 include launching and maintaining the Seven Friendly doors initiative which aims to provide relevant, locally-relevant, non-jargon guidance to help people in the Shire to seek and receive help.

It's a continual battle to make sure our community's needs are recognised and understood...

Stuart Hicks, Mindful Margaret River

The group also plans to engage with sports clubs and Men's Sheds, to link up and build mental health strategies, build intergenerational and intercultural connections to promote mental wellbeing, investigate transport options to help highly isolated people, as well as assisting the Shire in development of a Welcome Pack for newcomers, and promoting and supporting self-harm and suicide prevention work.

Mr Hicks said there were also local resource issues to confront.

"Service providers are very stretched and we have to work hard to ensure they are adequately funded in future.

"It's a continual battle to make sure our community's needs are recognised and understood by those who hold the purse-strings."

Mr Hicks congratulated and thanked Mindful Margaret River Taskforce members for their work this year.

"You know, it can be good for your own mental health and wellbeing to be working with others to promote mental health and wellbeing at a local level, within the community," he said.

To join the Mindful Margaret River taskforce you can drop your details to info@mindfulmargaretriver.org.au or call Stuart Hicks 041 993 5366 for a chat.