Mental Health Matters

Often, we only talk about mental health as an individual responsibility, but lots of things outside our control contribute to mental health.

Things like discrimination, inequality, intergenerational trauma, access to services, and government policies can negatively impact people’s and communities’ mental health.

During Mental Health Month we all have a chance to Tune In to things we can do as individuals for our own, and others’ mental health,

Tuning in means being present. It means being aware of what is happening within you, and in the world around you. Being present by tuning in has been shown to help build self-awareness, help make effective choices, reduce the impact of worry, and build positive connections.

You can tune in to many things

  • Tune in to yourself – What can you sense right now? What can you feel?
  • Tune in to others – What might people around you be feeling? How can we connect?
  • Tune in to your communities – What is happening that you can be part of, or that you can help others be part of?
  • Tune in to stigma – How do attitudes and understandings of mental health and wellbeing impact on people’s ability to live the lives they want? How can we help?

To promote Mental Health Month, Council will collaborate with  our local community organisations to host Street Stalls across the Shire and run a photography competition.

Representatives from the Neighbourhood Centres of Bellingen Shire, CHESS Connect, Red Cross, Social Futures, Bellingen and Dorrigo Youth Hubs, Lifeline and Bellingen Shire Council will be at the street stalls to promote service information, respond to enquiries and give away freebies including recovery kits, drink bottles, USB sticks, pens, sun screen and tea. Come along and have a chat.

  • Urunga: Thursday 7 October 9am-1pm
  • Bellingen Thursday 14 October 9am-1pm
  • Dorrigo Thursday 21 October 9:30am-1:30pm

Photo competition

Throughout October we want you to send us a photograph that shares a message about your direct or indirect experience with mental health and how it links to this year’s mental health month theme Tune In.  All you need is a smartphone!

There are three categories and a people's choice award with prizes to be won in each.

Photos should depict your experience with mental health: What does it look like and feel like for you? How do you take time for your mental health? How do you “tune in” to mental health issues – your own, your friends or your community? We hope the entries will be as varied as the experience of mental health

The competition is open to anyone who lives in the Bellingen Shire. Entries will be judged on the following criteria: originality and creativity in the interpretation of the theme Tune In.

How to Enter

Competition Details

All entries must be submitted online as a jpeg file. No hardcopy photos will be accepted.

Entries are open: 1 October – 31 October 2021. Entries close 5pm on 31st October 2021.

All entries will be displayed as a slideshow at the Bellingen Shire Libraries online galleries during the month of December. There are three categories of entries. Primary aged (5-12) Secondary aged (13-18) and adult 18+

Criteria & Judging

Photos will be judged on originality and creativity in the interpretation of the theme Tune In, the link between picture and words and the clarity of the message. 


One winning entry in each category will receive prize money. They are as follows:

  • Primary aged (5-12years) - $50.00 voucher
  • Secondary aged (13-18years) $100 voucher
  • Adult (18+ years) $200 voucher
  • People's Choice $50 voucher


Winners will be notified by email by 30 November 2021 and will receive information on how to collect their prize money.