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Let’s Talk turns up the volume across South West Victoria

Let’s Talk was created to break the stigma of talking about mental health. By raising awareness, encouraging help seeking and increasing community knowledge and competence in supporting people with mental illness and distress, LET'S TALK' s aims benefit  the whole community and prevent devastating outcomes like suicide.

Research suggests that rural communities are more at risk of mental health problems, with higher rates of stigma, limited access to resources, and often isolating lifestyles.

The demands placed on an already overstretched mental health sector mean more than ever the proactive work of LET’S TALK is critical. Despite the significant number of volunteer hours that go into the initiative, funding to administer and coordinate the program is needed.

Having supported LET'S TALK Foundation with funding for signage in 2020 (in Mortlake and Warrnambool outskirts), in 2021 FFV committed to an impact grant of $300,000 over 3 years. This funding enabled the organisation to increase its presence in South West Victoria, establishing hubs in other areas apart from Warrnambool. 

This impact grant has enabled LET'S TALK to employ Community Engagement Officers for Warrnambool and Colac, implement a database for better volunteer and donor management, and engage a communications and grant specialist to support the team in writing funding applications.

They hired a strategist to provide training for the Board and Executive Team to build capacity of the organisation, and have developed a business plan and Case statement.

The Let’s Talk framework includes Leadership, Education, Support and Promotion and their strong vision is making considerable inroads in South West Victoria. There was signage installed at Football & Netball clubs across the region, talks had with Warrnambool City Council, Moyne & Corangamite Shires about the whole of community approach, and a Walkathon that involved 250 community members.

A pilot program in Terang in 2022 saw leaders in the community deliver Let’s Talk sessions in the tight knit community of farming families, businesses and industry to build “buy-in” from key community members and engage the entire community in open conversation about mental illness through shared lived experience.

Most recently, the organisation went through a restructure, to increase capacity and ensure sustainable governance. This has lead to the employment of a employment of Executive Officer, Community Activation Lead and Business Support Officer. 

FFV’s support has helped LET'S TALK Foundation to gain considerable momentum in these communities throughout South West Victoria, where the toll of un-adressed mental health problems is know all too well. With vital support of this program, LET'S TALK hopes to activate communities to remove, over time, the stigma around mental health.


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