Sunday, July 21, 2024

Bingo kits a winner for Georges River mental health


A Self-Care Bingo Kit project developed by Georges River Libraries has been named a finalist in the 2023 Mental Health Matters Awards.

The Georges River Libraries team initiative was selected for the Outstanding Achievement in Mental Health Promotion Award category, which recognises excellence and innovation in mental health promotion activities that increase mental health awareness, reduce stigma, and enhance wellbeing.

“The Creative Self-Care Bingo Kit project was developed by the Georges River Libraries programs team to encourage and celebrate self-care and community connection post-Covid lockdowns,” said Georges River Council Mayor, Sam Elmir.

Mayor Elmir said the kits were distributed for Mental Health Month in October 2022, and proved to be a great beacon of hope and support, with lasting effects.

“Congratulations to all of the staff involved for this well-deserved recognition and thank you for demonstrating such remarkable compassion and ingenuity during what were trying times for many people in our community,” he said.

The bingo activity included 25 creative self-care prompts that could be chosen at random to help people practice mindfulness in 5 categories:

Create: Creative activities help express emotions or let go of negative thoughts

Connect: Finding ways to increase social connection can help reduce stress by providing a sense of support and belonging

Move: Finding simple ways to move can increase the production of endorphins as well as improve sleep and increase energy levels

Pause: Taking a moment to pause promotes relaxation and allows the nervous system to regain balance

Sense: Engaging the senses during everyday tasks encourages daily mindful practice.

Each kit contained activities to engage, uplift, and reconnect participants at their own pace, including the creation of a ‘nature mandala’, colouring-in postcards to send to friends, and materials to craft a ‘kindness heart’ to keep or to donate to patients experiencing social isolation at local hospitals.

As a result, 104 kindness hearts along with 150 handmade Christmas cards by children from Georges River Council’s Early Learning Centres were sent to patients in December 2022 to spread love and well wishes.

Mayor Elmir congratulated Council staff involved for their well-deserved recognition in the awards and their innovative approach in encouraging community members to “slow down and make time for self-care”.

“Not only did this initiative provide essential mental health and wellbeing resources for individuals when they needed them most, it also fostered a sense of togetherness and resilience in our community,” he said.

The Mental Health Matters Awards aim to recognise outstanding achievements of individuals, groups and organisations that have worked to improve understanding, awareness, service provision and the general mental health of communities in NSW over the previous year.

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