Compass Housing got behind the national RUOK? Day by hosting some free events for its tenants and others in the community.
On RUOK? Day (September 13) it 123 Community Hub in Broken Hill, its Central Coast community hub – The Meeting Place, as well as at Maitland Park in the Hunter region. It also had a stand at the RUOK? Conversation Convoy event at Newcastle’s Civic Park on September 7.
Compass Housing’s suicide prevention co-ordinator Jennifer Caine said the community events were well attended. Ms Caine said they gave people lots of opportunity to start a conversation with others about whether they are OK.
She said Compass Housing was playing its part to make sure its tenants, their families and the broader community are doing OK. She said like all Australians, social and community housing tenants need to look after their mental health and they need practical tips and support to do so.
Last year Compass commenced a mental health and suicide prevention awareness program for all its tenants including its 200 tenants in Broken Hill. The Australian first Shout Out program has been funded by the NSW Government Suicide Prevention Fund until June 2020.
The program includes a general awareness campaign for tenants as well as training for frontline staff and tenants to recognise and respond to suicidality and mental health issues. As part of the program, former rugby league star turned boxer Joe Williams gave a talk in Broken Hill in late June on his battle with mental illness, outlining his tips for good mental health.
“Shout Out and getting behind community programs such as RUOK? Day is part of our broader community development programs that help tenants to improve their lives and to help them participate fully in the community,” Ms Caine said.
“Many social and community housing tenants have previously dealt with housing stress and other issues in their lives which negatively impact on their mental health,” she said.
RU OK? is a national suicide prevention charity. RUOK? Day is in its 10th year. The four RUOK? steps of conversation are ‘Ask, Listen, Encourage Action, and Check In’.