Headspace Port Macquarie is ready to Spill the Beans - a community strengthening project designed to connect young people and foster a supportive, sharing environment.
Spill the Beans began in September and will continue to be delivered over four six-week sessions until June 2022.
What started out as a cafe catch-up was moved online due to COVID lockdowns.
Participants were delivered fresh hot coffee from Ruins Café, followed by a zoom online catch up where each week a different mental health and wellbeing activity was conducted including chair yoga, meditation, origami, a scavenger hunt and break-out discussions.
In November, Spill the Beans will be delivered face to face at different locations across the Port-Macquarie Hastings local government area. These will include two hour drop-in coffee and games sessions facilitated by Headspace staff.
Qualified headspace workers will connect with participants in a group environment to help build resilience strategies. This casual approach is aimed at creating a safe place to check in and have positive conversations around mental health.
The project is supported by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council through the Community Grants program.
The second round of Spill the Beans will be run at Waterman's Café at Bain Park in Wauchope and will be open to 16-25 year olds who may be experiencing isolation, difficulties with studying and managing work-life balance.
The sessions are open to senior students at Wauchope High School, TAFE, those working in the area or any young person that wants to check in, have a chat with the headspace team and meet new people.
For the last two rounds of Spill the Beans, headspace will move the program to Laurieton and Port Macquarie. Cafes or restaurants wanting to participate can contact headspace.
Headspace community engagement coordinator Jules Jamieson says Spill the Beans is the perfect platform to reconnect after a difficult 18 months.
"The pandemic has obviously had a huge impact on everyone's mental health - but particularly young people. From isolation, loss of employment and housing to feelings of hopelessness and lack of productivity. The first step in rectifying the impact of this is to bring people together to connect and share," she said.
"Our hope is that Spill the Beans will encourage self-care and social inclusion. The games played at the sessions are designed to stimulate discussion and help people relax and have fun. These strategies are based on headspace's seven tips for a healthy headspace."
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's director of strategy and growth Jeffery Sharp says council is proud to support the program.
"It's a great idea and it's clear the need is there for young people to connect in a safe space after such a difficult two years," he said.
"Our aim for the Community Grants program is to support projects that create a connected, supportive and inclusive community."
Headspace Port Macquarie is part of the National Mental Health Foundation and provides free early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year-olds.
Young people are supported across four core areas - mental health, physical health, work and study support and alcohol/other drug services.
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