Help us, health you

Looking for community support to gather a range of health-based statistics on the region are Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation’s Anna Kay, Rural Health’s Karen Cardillo, Rotary Club of Smithton’s Gerard Blizzard and Wyndarra Centre’s Ruth Neasey. Picture: Bodey Dittloff.

Research. A local group is calling on community support for a proposed three-year research project delving into mental health issues within Circular Head.

Organised through Australian Rotary Health, the initiative would engage an independent research officer to work with an array of local service providers and individuals, gathering hard data to utilise for early intervention and prevention.

Rotary Club of Smithton DGN Gerard Blizzard, who is facilitating the project as it progresses, said the “embryo of the idea” came to mind late last year following a talk with ARH corporate manager Terry Davies.

“The whole thing is to gather information to back up early intervention [programs],” Mr Blizzard said.

“We’ve got a fairly wide-ranging scope. We want to get the right message out there, with a plan to gain benefits for the community over the long-term.”

For the past six months, representatives from Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation, Rural Health, Wyndarra Centre, Circular Head Council, Smithton High School, Circular Head Christian School and Rotary have been in consultation to support the plan.

While separate from existing health groups and programs, the proposed research project would help to support other prevention initiatives, particularly focusing on tackling problems from an intergenerational perspective regardless of one’s socio-economic status.

If successful, the AHR would take criteria set by the local group and choose an appropriate researcher, who would then work within the community to gather a series of qualitative and quantitative data on health and wellbeing in the region.

The group must be able to commit to $11,000 per year ($33,000) prior to making an application to ARH. The university the researcher hails from matches this and ARH contributes funds as well, creating enough funding to complete the project.

The group has indications for a portion of their $11,000 but must gain pledges for the remainder by the application deadline in August.

“It represents all walks of life,” Rural Health’s Karen Cardillo said of the research.

“I think it’s important for community organisations to understand what’s having an impact on healthy people as well as people that are struggling.”

For more information, contact Gerard at gerardblizzard@bigpond.com or call 0417 532 392.

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