VicHealth focuses on strengthening social connections to improve health and wellbeing – both mental and physical.
Our social connections comprise people we know; the friends we confide in, the family we belong to and the community we live in. The need to belong, be connected and engaged in group and civic activities are intrinsic to mental health and wellbeing.
These seemingly simple needs have a profound impact on mental health and wellbeing. However, activities that focus on enhancing social connection and participation must bring together many complex elements.
Important aspects of social connection include:
- supportive social networks; family, friends and community groups
- participation in social activities such as those run by community groups or clubs
- civic engagement through community groups, such as church or volunteer, service clubs, and professional or political associations.
The VicHealth Active Arts Strategy aims to encourage physical activity and improve mental wellbeing for the benefit of all Victorians.
It aligns our approaches with the National Arts and Health Framework and builds on our considerable experience in working across the arts and health sectors.
Key projects include:
White Night Melbourne
In February 2016, the leading practitioners of 21st century circus converged on the state’s iconic world heritage listed Carlton Gardens for a contemporary re-imagining of the greatest show on earth. Circus Circus celebrated Victoria’s long history of circus with 12 exhilarating hours of gravity defying acrobatics, heart-stopping aerials and breathtaking feats of physicality, strength and daring.
Audience members were invited to stretch their minds and bodies for 720 minutes in the Circus Playground.
Community Activation Program
This VicHealth investment aims to create and activate places within local communities that increase access to opportunities for physical activity and social connection.
For VicHealth, Community Activation means physically and visually transforming a public space or place within your community, then 'activating' it in a variety of ways that inspires and involves local people who are less active to get more physically active.
Five councils were selected to plan and pilot approaches to transform and activate a selected space within their community, with a view to it becoming a permanent site for physical activity.
VicHealth’s Active Arts Partners – Arts Centre Melbourne, The Australian Ballet and Circus Oz – will be assisting these local governments to activate their project sites and communities.
Innovation Challenge: Arts
The 2014 VicHealth Innovation Challenge: Arts called for new ideas to get more Victorians physically active and socially connected.
Getting involved in the arts – whether it's enjoying a museum exhibition, taking a dance class to get your heart pumping or going to a gig – provides people with an opportunity to gain new skills and express themselves, be inspired, and feel good about life in general. And we know that being connected and getting involved with the community reduces loneliness and helps people to make new friends.