working together
for outback mental
health & wellbeing

We’re combining our smarts - HEAD - with our capacity for hard work - YAKKA - to bring about meaningful change in mental health and wellbeing in our outback communities.

developed in each community
led by each community



A whole of community approach working with children, young people, adults, families, community groups, schools, businesses, workplaces, local councils, agencies and service providers.



Working alongside outback communities to help them develop common purpose, conversations, and activities which support and promote mental health and wellbeing.



Helping people understand and appreciate the power of good mental health and wellbeing, and the importance of taking care of themselves and others.



Growing the confidence of our outback people and communities, and resourcing them, so they proactively advocate for accessible and effective mental health services, and their own wellbeing.


life changing

Focusing on long term outcomes to improve wellbeing, build resilience, reduce stigma, shift mental health cultural norms, and prevent self-harm and suicide.


“I know of lives that have been saved and marriages that are still together because of this initiative and it doesn’t get better than that. We are seeing real, living examples of positive intervention and outcomes with momentum that is going to have a lifelong impact.”


Steven Boxall
CEO Barcaldine Regional Council (2018-2020)

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a community owned vision

for a future where...

  • People confidently rally around someone with mental health struggles, in the same ways they help with someone's physical health.
  • Mental health and wellbeing issues are familiar, safe and valued.
  • People understand their mental health needs, and they effectively utilise pathways to wellbeing.
  • Intergenerational strength and resilience creates positive change in long term mental health outcomes.

positively changing

our outback

The HEAD YAKKA initiative was developed following three years of community engagement around issues of mental health in the Barcaldine Region. In 2019 Outback Futures, Barcaldine Regional Council and University of Southern Queensland launched HEAD YAKKA in Barcaldine Region.

We are currently engaging in conversations with other regions in Central West Queensland, and are advocating for HEAD YAKKA to be developed and led by remote and very remote communities across Queensland.

an initiative of


our impact

in the first 12 months


of the 150+ people we've engaged


Experienced personal
wellbeing improvement


keen to engage a friend
or neighbour with the initiative


felt an increased sense of safety
in discussing mental health

head yakka in the outback community

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find out more and

get involved

HEAD YAKKA is for everyone in our outback communities, so there are plenty of ways you can get involved! If you'd like to see HEAD YAKKA in your community, get in touch. Or, chat with us about support opportunities and help extend HEAD YAKKA's impact into new regions.

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the issues
we're tackling

While short-term responses to these issues are critical, the key to reducing suicide and enhancing mental health and wellbeing is fundamental change in the way our outback communities, from our children through to our elders, perceive and act on issues of mental health and wellbeing. HEAD YAKKA is about creating a community culture of people caring for themselves and for others through a community-owned and driven process of long-term change.

  • Nearly 1 in 4 outback Queenslanders are at risk of developing a mental health disorder.
  • Suicide rates of our Western Queensland young people are 4.7 times more than in other parts of Queensland.
  • 42% of children in very remote regions are developmentally vulnerable.
  • Ongoing drought and other natural disasters which have significant impact on families, businesses and communities.
  • The ongoing impact of COVID-19 across our outback communities.
  • Stigma, shame and embarrassment around mental health issues.
  • Inaccessible and inconsistent delivery of mental health and other support services.

let's take care of ourselves and each other

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for others who are feeling sad or worried.

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with yourself and ask, "How am I feeling?"

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and talk with someone you trust.

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our partners

Acknowledgement of country

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the country on which we work and live and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them, their cultures, and to Elders past, present and emerging.