Mental Health Education Program

Mental Health Education project is set up in response to the rising number of mental health issues in Oromo community in Victoria. According to 2016 census, 3,046 Oromo speakers in Australia where most of them experiencing difficulties in their refugee life.

Refugee background people are highly affected by mental health issues that arise from their experiences. To reduce this mental health issues, we believe that training, information session, forum and conversations for change are highly needed in our community.

Advocacy for Oromia will organise information session, women performance, radio programs, culturally adopted conversations on Oromo Coffee Drinking ceremony, providing training for mental health guides and forum and producing educational materials on the selected groups and geographical area.

After the completion of this project that provided an opportunity for Oromo community to participate in activities designed to engage members of the community in conversations about mental health issues and its prevention, Advocacy for Oromia has developed various support Groups to provide an opportunity for people to share personal experiences and feelings, coping strategies, or firsthand information about diseases or treatments.


The Advocacy for Oromia offers support to people and their carers who are from Oromo background living in Victoria.  These support Groups were developed after serious dialogue and conversation held in the community. Thus, Advocacy for Oromia has developed the following three dialogue and conversation programs since the beginning of January 2019.

  • Oromo Women’s Support Group it’s a peer support group designed for Oromo Women living in South eastern region, Dandenong, Victoria. It will give Oromo women an opportunity to increase their social interaction and combat isolation. The Group will meet every 2nd Wednesday of each month, 6.00pm to 9.00pm. at Springvale Neighbourhood House, 46-50 Queens Ave, Springvale VIC 3171.


  • Oromo Elders Support Group– it’s a support group designed for Oromo elders living in South eastern region, Dandenong, Victoria. It will give Oromo elders an opportunity to increase their social interaction and combat isolation. The Group will meet every 1st Sunday of each month, 5.00pm to 9.00pm. at Springvale Neighbourhood House, 46-50 Queens Ave, Springvale VIC 3171.


  • Oromo Connect– it’s a general support group designed for Oromo community living in Victoria. It will give members of Oromo community an opportunity to increase their social interaction and combat isolation. The Group will meet every 3rd Saturday of each month, 10.00am to 12.00pm. at Ross House, 247-251 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000.

The aim of the Support program is to improving the mental health and well-being of Oromo community in Victoria. It aims to assist those experiencing, mental ill-health, their families and carers of all ages within this community to address the social determinants of mental health for Oromo community. It helps:

  • Identify and build protective factors,
  • Reduce stigma and discrimination
  • Build capacity for self-determination
  • Better understand mental wellbeing, mental ill-health and the impacts of trauma

The goal of the project is to increase mental health literacy of Oromo community that aims:

  • To assist people with mental health issues
  • To increase the capacity of mental health worker
  • To better understand mental wellbeing
  • To provide mental health education and information
  • To address the social and cultural causes of mental health issues

A4O Brochure 2017

Why Support Groups are needed?

Here are nine potential benefits from participation in support groups:

1) Realizing you are not alone 

It’s interesting to hear people describe their first support group meeting. They will often say, “You know, until I went to the group I thought I was the only person in the world with my problem. I was so surprised to find that everyone in the group had the same issues as me.” This realization usually brings about a feeling of relief, by gaining the understanding for perhaps the very first time in their life that others have similar concerns and are there to help and encourage you.

2) Expressing your feelings

After you realize you aren’t alone and within a safe and supportive environment, you will begin to feel comfortable sharing your feelings and life circumstances with the group. This can be a very therapeutic and healing experience, particularly as you find that others in the group will listen nonjudgmentally and will praise you for your openness and courage.

3) Learning helpful information

Support groups offer lots of practical tips and resources for dealing with identified concerns, and members share their success stories and the strategies that helped them move forward in their recovery. Some groups focus on learning and practicing specific coping skills. Many groups will also provide recommendations for useful books and websites for additional study apart from the group meetings.

4) Improved social skills 

By meeting and talking with other group members, you also have a chance to practice social skills and interact more effectively with others. Often, mental illness or addiction has contributed to withdrawal from social situations. Support groups provide a safe place to become comfortable around others once more.

5) Gaining hope 

It’s very powerful when you see others in the group who are further along their road to recovery and who have made great strides toward having happier and healthier lives. These positive role models show you that recovery is in fact attainable, which brings renewed hope for the future.

6) Reducing distress 

As you work through various issues and concerns in the group, it’s common that you will begin to notice a reduced level of overall distress and discomfort. This is a positive sign that progress is being made and that you are feeling better.

7) Increased self-understanding

As you learn more effective ways to cope and handle difficult situations, you gain better understanding about yourself, your needs and your own unique personality. You can also gain increased insight about the factors that have contributed to your current challenges and the strategies that seem to work best to help you move toward your goals.

8) Helping others

Just as you benefit from the group experience, you can also help other group members as you grow and make progress. Others will be affected positively by hearing about your successes and by your kind and caring demeanor. You will also notice you feel better when you are able to help someone else. Many groups will explicitly include the goal of helping others as a central component of the group’s mission.

9) Affordability

One additional advantage of support groups is they are very affordable. In fact, many groups are free, and all will typically be cheaper than individual therapy sessions.




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