We’re about to hit the road to further our exploration of mental health in South Australian towns and regions.

We received applications from around the state for our 10 year mental health funding opportunity – Our Town.  The applications may have been from diverse parts of South Australia but they all showed that there was a great need for help and support in this area.

After much deliberation and review, we’ve created an initial shortlist of nine towns and we’ll soon spend a whole day with each of them. Our selection panel chose towns that illustrated how a variety of residents and organisations would work together to create the change they wanted to see.

In November and December we’re heading around the state to hear more about these applications, the towns and the mental health challenges they want to turn around. We’re taking our partners from The Australian Centre for Social Innovation who will help communities to uncover and tell their most authentic stories and reveal existing strengths and capabilities.

We’ll also have a chance to tour these towns and hear their stories and challenges first-hand. These challenges range from how to prevent mental health issues and reduce isolation and stigma for those suffering poor mental health to how to help people strive for mental fitness and build connected and resilient communities.

Once we’ve visited the nine shortlisted towns we’ve got some further difficult decisions to make as we narrow the group down to our six towns. We’ll let you know who the final six towns are at the end of this year. It’s going to be a very enlightening – and challenging – couple of months all round.

As we move forward with this process, we’d like to thank all of the people who took the time to apply and share their stories with us.