This past month of October WAGEC engaged with Mental Health Awareness Month by 'tuning in' and recognising the connection between domestic violence, homelessness and mental health. This year the theme was 'tune in.' WAGEC tuned in by sharing key issues that we experience in the sector, useful mindfulness resources and examples of how we use a holistic approach to support women and families in crisis. While the focus of the month was to encourage and empower our community to nurture their mental health while also educate them on the gender bias when it comes to mental health and women, we also offered mental health workshops for our staff. On the 15th October, our Womens team took part in a mindful eating workshop led by nutritionist Melissa Patenaude and on the 22nd October, our Families team was led through a yoga for mental health class by therapeutic yoga teacher Maria Kirsten.
Throughout the month we tuned into:
- the connection between intimate partner violence and mental health
- how psychological abuse is a form of domestic and family violence
- how mental health prevents women with experiences of violence from accessing justice
- how the co-occurrence of domestic and family violence and mental health has parenting impacts
- how the intersection between domestic violence and mental health demands that organisations work collaboratively
- how mental health has been amplified in the current Covid-19 environment
Although mental health awareness month is over, it is crucial that we all continue to tune in to our mental health and look after those in community whose mental health is compounded by their experience of violence and / or homelessness.