In 1982 a group of concerned community members met around a kitchen table to discuss the formation of an organisation aimed at assisting Self Help groups in Western Australia. Following the results of a survey, which they targeted towards Self Help and Support Groups, a public meeting was held in 1982 with over 200 people attending to discuss the needs of groups in Western Australia.
With the help of a small grant from the then Department for Communities the Western Institute of Self Help (WISH) Inc was established in 1983. The organisation was to undertake the needs expressed at that first public meeting; to promote the philosophy and practice of self help throughout Western Australia.
Over the years the organisation has evolved into one that is recognised as the leader of Self Help and Support Group initiatives in Western Australia. In 2007 WISH was re-branded to ConnectGroups – Support Groups Association WA Inc. It was felt that this new name more aptly described the type of services offered.
ConnectGroups today continues to maintain its core services that of linking individuals and families to existing groups; and providing assistance to existing and new emerging groups in line with its Health Promotion status. Through the delivery of one on one mentoring, specialised training and the provision of effective resource tools. It also continues to undertake and or contribute to evidence research into peer support models. Since 2010 the organisation has taken a strong advocacy role by contributing to government health and mental health policy.
The following is just a small example of the type of achievements the organisation has accomplished over the last 6 years:
• 2007 Rebranding of organisation from WISH to ConnectGroups
• 2010 Lifeline WA Peer Recognition Award
• 2011 CRS Australia WA Champion Employer Award Winner
• 2012 Mental Health Commission Good Outcomes Awards Prevention, Promotion and Early Intervention Finalist
• 2012 ICCWA Research Award
• 2013 Department of Local Government and Communities Preferred Service Provider