The act of knocking on a door to check in on the household is not new. As a show of care, this has presumably worked to keep people well and connected to natural supports throughout history and across diverse cultures. In 2021 and 2022, the Assisting Communities through Direct Connection (ACDC) Project turned this simple idea into a large-scale program adapted to the contemporary Australian context and implemented across multiple community settings.
Teams of two or three people – referred to as ‘People Connectors’ – knocked on over 37,000 doors in 21 communities around Australia to ask householders about their wellbeing. They had conversations about mental health and social and emotional wellbeing, collected data through a survey, responded to any needs that arose, and provided information and assistance by suggesting support options or linking people to services. In every community, a Delivery Partner Organisation was engaged to deliver the project in their community.
The evaluation findings summarised in this report focus on the suitability of the project and its effectiveness and value for householders and communities.
- People were very responsive to informal conversations about mental health and welcomed the opportunity to engage.
- A conversation at the doorstep provided people with a safe, non-judgmental space and an opportunity to reflect or act on their needs.
- Doorknocking was able to effectively engage people who were hardly reached, or living in disadvantaged communities.
- The doorknocking approach reached many people with poor wellbeing and/or significant mental health need.