The Blue Letterbox

Harnessing the connectedness of rural and remote communities.



What's this all about, then?

Positive mental health is a critical issue in rural and remote areas with the rate of suicides almost double the national average. Men, both young and old, are particularly at risk. However, research shows for differing reasons1:

Youth are vulnerable to isolation, loneliness, alienation due to sexual preferences, and drug & alcohol misuse.

Suicide amongst youth in regional and remote
areas is twice the rate of metropolitan areas

Older generations are affected by financial insecurity, natural disasters, perceived social stigma around help seeking, and stoic individualism.

Two thirds of farmer suicides occur
amongst those aged 55 and over

The unfortunate irony of the situation is that rural and remote communities often demonstrate higher levels of connectedness and community sprit. The question is:

How can we harness this connectivity and powerful network of support to foster positive mental health and reduce the rates of suicide?

1. Suicide in Rural Australia, 2009. (National Rural Health Alliance Inc.)

The story that sparked the project



This is where the paint comes in...

The Blue Letterbox is a “pop-up” event where rural and remote towns collectively paint their letterboxes blue as a symbolic declaration. This declaration is a commitment of two things:

  • Commitment to taking action and reaching out to their community for support when they go through tough times.
  • Commitment to “be there” and support others in their community who are going through a tough time.

As a “community franchise” model, the format of The Blue Letterbox can vary from town to town, but is typically wrapped up in a “mini-festival” (sometimes referred to as a “Blues Festival”) of live music, food, speeches, “goody bags” which contain a small tin of paint for each attendee, and the invitation for them to paint their letterbox blue. We know that mental health initiatives need to be delivered in a “subversive” way, hence the festival framework that allows locals to engage in the project in a way that casual.

The project is ultimately overseen and implemented by a community lead from each participating town - and they are, in turn, supported by Spur Projects.

Three pilot projects will take place in the 2015 financial year in order to test the model and refine the template. In 2016, the project will be available as a “template” that any community across Australia can purchase and implement.

The vision is 100 communities implementing the project by the end of 2016.


Warwick, QLD

October 2015

Warwick will be the first Australian town to pilot the project in October 2015.

It is a tight-knit community with a bustling township surrounded by fertile agriculture. The community and Southern Downs regional council are already significantly active in the mental health space and The Blue Letterbox is part of a suite of activities to promote positive mental health.

Stay tuned: More information on the event will be announced closer to October.



AUSTRALIA

COMING SOON

By the end of 2016, over 100 Australian townships will have painted their letterboxes.

If you'd like to get your community involved, contact us!




Get Involved


If you'd like to get involved, great! There are a number of people we're currently searching for:

  • Communities and individuals who are interested in piloting the project in their town.
  • Partners to help support the resourcing of the project - particularly in regards to physical resources (eg; paint) and funding.

Please contact us via the details below:

+61 421 964 986

mail@spurprojects.com.au

twitter.com/spurprojects

facebook.com/spurprojects