ON THE BALL: Bundjalarms netballers with Steve Carrigg and Juliana Vranic (front left).
ON THE BALL: Bundjalarms netballers with Steve Carrigg and Juliana Vranic (front left). One Shot Photography

Belonging to a group better for mental health

OCTOBER is Mental Health month and the message from the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) is to act, belong, commit.

With connectedness good for our mental health, we are encouraged by Northern NSW Local Health District Mental Health Services to keep active physically and socially, and become involved in a group.

RAMHP promotion officer at the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health Steve Carrigg said that "a sense of belonging and purpose in life contributes to happiness and good mental health".

"To be mentally healthy means that most of the time, you feel good about yourself and what you do," Mr Carrigg said.

"Sport can be instrumental in creating positive change for people and communities.

"An example is Lismore Bundjalarms (Butterflies) netball program that has developed between Aboriginal people, health and public sector workers and community members."

Lismore Adult Mental Health Unit mental welfare officer Juliana Vranic said Bundjalarms "began around 18 months ago with the number of girls aged 8-16 years doubling in that time".

"Bundjalarms focuses on education, healthy lifestyles, positive role modelling and connection to the community," Ms Vranic said.

"While increasing the girls' resilience to social and environmental pressures, it is beneficial as a social outlet for both indigenous and non-indigenous alike.

"It nurtures their sense of self-worth, builds fitness, creates peer support and helps them overcome difficulties beyond the group's activities.

"The group of around 25 girls will soon attend the NSW Aboriginal Netball Carnival in Newcastle where they can showcase the netball and social skills learned."



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