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Byron Shire Action Group releases Mental Health Support and Kindness Policy.

Byron Shire Action Group today released its Mental Health Support and Kindness Policy to raise awareness of the increasing need for urgent and additional actions due to the unprecedented challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the current lockdown of Byron Shire.

Media release September 23, 2021

Read the full Mental Health and Kindness Policy plan (PDF).

As a Committee Member of the Byron Community Centre, Mayoral candidate Bruce Clarke has seen first-hand the impact on residents’ mental health and the increased need for resilience.

Bruce said: “Our community is particularly hurting at the moment with increasingly strained interactions as people vent their frustration and anger during these very uncertain times. Over the past 20 years, there has been growing social disintegration across Byron Shire with fractured communities threatening to reinforce the lines between the so-called ‘us and them’. This has led to a marked decrease in patient and respectful communications and had a very detrimental effect on many residents’ mental health.

“Byron Shire Action Group is committed to working with our entire community, including local philanthropists who are already providing some amazing, unheralded support for the homeless and the disaffected.”

Byron Shire Action Group’s overarching priority is kindness and mutual respect in all interactions. Our Mental Health Support and Kindness Policy actions will include:

Increasing support for mental health services including non-government organisations and community groups.

Action 1: Working with experts, community groups and local philanthropists to urgently establish a women’s refuge.

Action 2: Increasing the number of men’s shelters and support services, including counselling.

Action 3: Facilitating a one-stop support and referral shop for people suffering mental health and/or financial problems.

Action 4: Supporting initiatives for alternative mental health treatments which have been proven to be very successful in overseas trials.

Action 5: Working with the community to build and fit-out a sleep bus to provide a safe haven for women, their children, as well as a cosy place for companion pets. Each pod will come with a mattress, linen, USB charging, lockable door and provide information on services in the Byron Shire for pathways out of homelessness.

Action 6: Helping our youth’s mental health challenges through the creation of careers for them in the Shire, not just jobs. We propose to do this through the creation of an Innovation Hub as a central location to encourage creatives, foster
business development and innovation, create knowledge and smart technology-based enterprises and support services for start-ups or existing businesses.

Action 7: Establishing precinct committees in all areas across our Shire to facilitate transparent, respectful, kind and inclusive communications between Council and residents; these committees will be a direct conduit to understand and act on the diverse needs of our community.

Action 8: Engaging with youth centres and groups to support their objectives.

Action 9: Providing engaging (and sustainable) adventure playgrounds with more plant and water features, and better access for people with disabilities, including purpose-built swings. Interacting with the outdoor environment and socialising with other children has positive impacts on mental and physical wellbeing, especially during times of uncertainty.

We would love to hear of your experiences with random and planned acts of kindness across our region. Please share your story to:

Read the full Mental Health and Kindness Policy plan (PDF).

About Byron Shire Action Group

As a team of highly experienced, like-minded Progressive Independents, Byron Shire Action Group believes in putting the people of Byron Shire ahead of allegiance to any political party. By providing smart leadership and better governance, the team will focus on action plans to solve the many real issues faced by the community. Under the leadership of Mayoral candidate Bruce Clarke, the focus will be to ensure Byron Shire maintains its heritage, character and values while adapting to future demands. Bruce is a lawyer, local government specialist, trained mediator, and environmental and social activist with high-level management and government liaison expertise. He is joined on the team by senior diplomat, journalist, and communications specialist Julie Meldrum; café owner and Brunswick Chamber of Commerce committee member Gary Deller; and small businesswoman Janine Khosid. In the lead up to the Council election on December 4, 2021, specifics about key action plans will continue to be released that will act as a blueprint for a reinvigorated and reunited Byron Shire.

Media Inquiries

For more details, please call Bruce Clarke on 0419 292 323 or via email to