As one of the STRIDE projects announced today by beyondblue and The Movember Foundation, Out of the Blue will see the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) partner with ACON, the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) at UNSW, creative agency Liquorice as well as community partners GAMMA NSW and Living Positive Victoria to embark on a two year project aimed at men living with HIV as well as same-sex attracted men in heterosexual relationships to combat the stigma associated with mental health conditions.
The STRIDE (Stigma Reduction Interventions: Digital Environments) Project includes six smaller projects going into digital environments to combat the stigma associated with men seeking assistance for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Out of the Blue will aim to address those issues within two target groups that experience this stigma in addition to the stigma experienced living with HIV and/or being same-sex attracted while in a heterosexual relationship. The complexities of this project require a partnership that lead agency, VAC, is excited to engage in.
“Historically, our community has made some of it’s most significant strides forward when working together,” said VAC CEO Simon Ruth. “This interstate collaboration is an exciting endeavour to create an innovative project that could improve our reach and efficacy when delivering mental health support services.”
“Anxiety and depression are the two highest prevalence mental health disorders in the general community. It is well established that that the LGBTI community experience much higher rates of anxiety and depression when compared to the general population. When you consider also the stigma and discrimination that has been, and still is, experienced by our community, the value of this project becomes very clear,” said ACON Director, HIV & Sexual Health Karen Price. “Importantly, the project will deliver information, advice and support to build personal resilience and assist them to share experiences.”
Director of CSRH Director Professor John de Wit said, “Out of the Blue provides important new services for men who are particularly vulnerable to stigma and CSRH is very pleased to be part of this innovative program.”
“We will be contributing robust evaluation methods that will investigate the benefits of this much-needed service,” added Professor Carla Treloar from CSRH.
“We are designing a digital environment where users feel completely protected, so that they can talk freely about their issues. This is the perfect sanctuary for them. This will give users an opportunity to connect with peers and experts they might otherwise never talk to in the physical world. The platform will support a range of opt-in message notifications to cater for each user’s preference and to ensure they have complete control over any contact,” said Liquorice Director Scott Bonanno. “Customising the technology to ensure it’s sensitive to our audience’s needs will give us the best chance of attracting users and building a positive online community.”
Starting in July 2015, Out of the Blue will create two websites aimed at the respective target groups including a combination of ways men can get support and information about overcoming stigma and other barriers when seeking to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
This is a joint media release between:
For more information regarding STRIDE, contact:
Caleb Hawk, Communications Coordinator
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | T: (03) 9865 6700
For ACON media enquiries:
Andrew Hamadanian, Media & Communications Officer
E: email@example.com | T: (02) 9206 2044 | M: 0419 555 768