Funding for Mental Mates program

Dylan Lewis of Katherine's influential Mental Mates.

Dylan Lewis of Katherine's influential Mental Mates.

Mental health support in Katherine is set to receive a boost following the announcement of a successful project under the Building Better Regions Fund – Community Investment stream.

Senator Nigel Scullion said the community-based project was a positive investment in the Katherine region’s future.

“This is a fantastic outcome for Katherine, with a Mental Mates Community Education and Leadership Development Program receiving $100,000,” Senator Scullion said.

The $100,000 grant was going to Australian Red Cross to run the Mental Mates program in Katherine south.

The Mental Mates Community Education and Leadership Development Program will build the skills, capacity and resilience among 160 Mates in Katherine who will support each other and reach out to others (Mental Mates), addressing issues that lead to suicide intervention and prevention and raising the profile of the issue among the broader Katherine community.

As well as the funding for Mental Mates, the Federal Government is providing $1.3 million for a Headspace for young people in Katherine giving youth greater access to mental health support as well as $217,500 for the Katherine YMCA Indigenous Youth Program.

Mental Mates founder Dylan Lewis said “ We are very appreciative of the funding for mental mates. It will go a long way in assisting us in our goal of hiring a full time mental health crisis support trainer, who will service the Katherine region and hopefully many other communities throughout the territory.

“We have trained around 350 people so far with the mental health first aid course, which as been delivered for free through volunteers. The growth of the amount of people being able to access this through the funding is a very exciting prospect, as a stats have shown that every person that has been trained has gone on to help an average of five people, which in our town as well as outlying communities will hopefully go a long way to lowering the amount of friends and family we loose to suicide, which is currently twice the national average in our region. A big thankyou to all involved in securing this funding for Mental Mates, we will work hard to make sure it is spent wisely to continue our community support,” Mr Lewis said.\