OUT OF THE DARKNESS: Our Healthy Clarence hopes to crack the code for improving the Clarence Valley's mental health experience. Pictured: Giane Smajstr, Sue Hughes, Zak Masters and Jeremy Jablonski.
OUT OF THE DARKNESS: Our Healthy Clarence hopes to crack the code for improving the Clarence Valley's mental health experience. Pictured: Giane Smajstr, Sue Hughes, Zak Masters and Jeremy Jablonski.

Can you help crack the code on mental health?

A NEW community research project hopes to crack the code for improving the Clarence Valley’s mental health experience. But first, it needs your help.

Our Healthy Clarence is inviting anyone who has experienced a mental health issue, suicide, cared for someone with a mental health issue or have been affected by suicide to share their story.

“It’s about removing that stigma and giving our community a voice on this issue,” Our Health Clarence project co-ordinator Giane Smajstr said.

“Those with lived experiences of mental health and suicide are the ones who can provide critical information to help us understand where the priorities should be and how best we can establish future services, programs and initiatives.”

Mrs Smajstr said the goal was to uncover any emerging patterns within each person’s experience in a confidential manner.

“It’s a data-driven exercise so none of the information from these interviews or focus groups would be used to identify those involved,” she said.

“From this, we can hopefully see where the gaps are and take the necessary steps.

“We know that in the Clarence Valley, men aged between 30-65 and women aged 40-60 are most at risk along with retired pensioners, unemployed people and those who’ve gone through a recent change of life circumstances such as a marriage breakdown.

“However, we want to gain an even deeper understanding of how best to target certain groups within the community.”

Anyone interested in being part of the program, or for more information, please contact 6640 3800 or email ourhealthyclarence@nsoa.org.au.