R U OK Day social media tile in black and yellow with speech bubble

Spreading mental health awareness and building resilience via community airwaves

Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 10th September 2020
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2020 has been particularly tough for many Australians.

This year, unlike any other, recognises that we are in this together, and that we can work together to provide connection, spread awareness, and share important information to our neighbours.

Embedded within community fabric, the 450+ community radio services across the country are well-placed to offer trusted mental health awareness information to almost six million listeners. Importantly, of these listeners, 918,000 listen exclusively to community radio – that is, they listen to community radio but not commercial radio or ABC/SBS.

Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK Day?, Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced the extension of funding for the CBAA's National Suicide Prevention Project, as part of the Australian Government’s Department of Health’s National Suicide Prevention and Leadership Support Program.

The extension of funding through to 30 June 2022 enables the continued creation and distribution of 20 short radio segments to community broadcasters each month. The segments are designed to promote help-seeking behaviour and healthy lifestyle choices.

CBAA Chief Executive Officer Jon Bisset says this announcement ensures stability and continuity for the distribution of vital mental health information to communities.

“With over 70% of community radio services in regional and remote Australia, community broadcasting services are well-placed to provide unique communities with the mental health information they need. The sector also serves special interest communities and cultural communities, including First Nations, multicultural and multilingual, the LGBTQIA+ community, young people, and seniors. This project tailors mental health information to meet unique community need.”

To ensure community radio stations across the country remain viable and can play their critical role during the pandemic and in recovery, as well as ensuring the sector can continue delivering community impact into the future, the CBAA is working with the Commonwealth Government to ensure targeted support is provided for the sector. The CBAA is engaging with the Government to secure an increase in the pool of available funds for the CBF’s COVID-19 Crisis Grants and an early commitment to maintain targeted funding to digital radio, national news and sector development programs beyond 2020-21.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14) and the Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).

For more information, please contact CBAA's Head of Partnerships and Strategy, Victoria Rouse, on 02 9318 9617 or via Victoria.Rouse@cbaa.org.au

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