The Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) project is a new initiative to connect people with the social and emotional wellbeing support services in their communities.
This is an evidence-based initiative and co-designed with people who have a lived experience of social or emotional distress, carers, local community members, local services and state and territory peak organisations. The project uses a combination of best practice approaches including responsible door-to-door outreach and informed, community sensitive engagement. The outreach is undertaken by ‘People Connectors’ engaged by Community Managed Organisations (CMOs) contracted by Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA). The People Connectors complete a co-designed training program developed by the ACDC project team. This is a free service and is a way to provide information to people who may not know about what supports they can access.
Outreach will operate in eight communities from all Australian states and territories and run for a three year period. Prior to the establishment of the ‘communities’, extensive engagement with stakeholders for consultation, co-design, and preparation is undertaken. The engagement process leads to the formation of consultative groups including the project Steering Committee and Local Reference Groups.
The ACDC Project is now being delivered in New South Wales, the ACT, and Queensland. The ACDC project has partnered with Wellways in Campbelltown NSW, The Mental Health Foundation of ACT, and Stride Mental Health across four sites, and are looking forward to partnering with One Door Mental Health for the delivery of the project in Wollongong. A validation process is well underway to identify candidate communities for the remaining 19 of the 24 intended ACDC Project sites. An expression of interest process will follow, where organisations will be invited to express their interest in partnering with Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) for the delivery of the ACDC Project within these sites.
“ACDC seek to counter a core problem with mental health services in Australia, which is that they wait until someone is in crisis or being pushed into help seeking behaviour. We must be much more proactive in connecting and communicating with people about this very important issue. Prevention and early intervention is far more effective that dealing with crises,” says CEO of Community Mental Health Australia Bill Gye.
The ACDC team includes Bill Gye (CEO), Hunena Khan (Partnerships & Engagement), James McKechnie (Manager), Ian Bond (Communications). The steering committee includes Jennifer Black, CEO, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, representing the CMHA Executive Leadership Group. Representatives from a lived/ living experience of mental health issues, carers, the research sector, Primary Health Network (PHN), CMHA Board, NDIA and Local Area Coordination, National Mental Health Peak Organisation and the ACDC Project also form part of the steering committee.
The ACDC Project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
For more information on the ACDC Project, please click here or email