At The Resilience Project, we feel very strongly about helping people become happier and more resilient.
In regional Australia, the prevalence of mental illness is just as high, if not higher, compared to inner-city locations. However, as areas get more remote, there is significantly reduced access to mental health care and services (National Rural Health Alliance, 2017).
This is compounded by the impacts wrought by natural disasters and extreme weather events, such as drought, bushfires, floods and cyclones, the frequency of which is projected to increase as a result of climate change (psychology.org.au, 2017).
Armed with this knowledge and a determination to make a difference, supporting high need communities has been a key strategic focus area for The Resilience Project.
Since 2021, our work has taken us to 22 communities and over 180 schools across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, the majority of whom have been impacted by natural disasters.
A recent example of this is the New South Wales town of Lismore, where, more than a year on from devastating floods, many students are still grappling with the after effects of the disaster that destroyed their homes and school.
Thanks to the support of our proud partner Coles, our founder and presenter Hugh van Cuylenburg was able to join forces with Olympic champion Sally Pearson to visit nearly 250 students and teachers from Lismore South Public School, where they explained ways of implementing the principles of Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness (GEM) into their everyday lives.
Lismore is one of several communities supported by The Resilience Project, ranging from Queensland’s far north in Cairns to Warrambool in Victoria’s south west.
Knowing that regional youth are disproportionately affected by poor mental health and suicide, let alone the added impact of natural disasters, makes our connection to these regional communities all the more purposeful as we seek to help everyone experience positive mental health.