Albany’s Vital Signs: Connections between report’s four sections hard to avoid on further reading

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
The Albany Community Foundation hopes its Vital Signs report will help address the social issues facing Albany.
Camera IconThe Albany Community Foundation hopes its Vital Signs report will help address the social issues facing Albany. Credit: Albany Community Foundation

The experts behind the belonging section of Albany Community Foundation’s Vital Signs report have said that understanding how the issues relate to each other is key to unlocking the big picture.

ACF’s James Leiper said his intimate knowledge of the data had meant he would jump between sections in his discussions about it.

“It’s hard not to start forming linkages between them and trying to connect the dots,” he said.

“Obviously we have to be careful of this and not draw conclusions on what are all quite complex issues, with many contributing factors, but there is clearly a strong correlation throughout the report.”

Vital Signs project co-ordinator Katie Arbuckle encouraged people to use “the statistics as a platform to spark conversation for further research”.

“We gravitate to what we are naturally curious about but each topic is part of the jigsaw puzzle and understanding community health can support action towards improving our collective quality of life,” she said.

Out of the report’s four sections, Belonging has arguably some of the strongest connections to each of the other three.

City of Albany community development co-ordinator Tammy Flett played a key role in drawing together the data for the Belonging section.

She said she could easily draw links to each section, including the domestic violence data, level of education data, mental and physical health data, housing data and financial stress data.

“Every single thing is interlinked,” she said.

“We could have covered so much more in this, but all of this stuff is really interlinked.”

Ms Arbuckle pointed towards the disengaged youth data and how healthcare professionals had reported “even a few hours of meaningful work significantly contributed to a sense of agency, thereby enhancing feelings of belonging”.

“Feeling accepted is one of our most basic needs — the essence of our wellbeing,” Ms Arbuckle said.

“Understanding the intersectionality of the issues is what I hope people take away.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails