Two organisations in the Bega Valley have been announced as a couple of the eight winners for this year's state-wide Mental Matters Awards.
Fling Physical Theatre received the Youth Award for its recent show My Black Dog while the Rainbow Wave Festival took out the Inclusion Award.
Run by the Mental Health Association NSW's WayAhead, the awards recognise the achievements of individuals and organisations who have worked to improve understanding, awareness, service provision and the general mental health of communities across the state.
My Black Dog was a performance and research project designed to support the mental health of young people in regional locations and was put on the stage in August to rave reviews.
Fling's co-artistic director Gabrielle Rose said for her the award meant recognition.
"It's saying yes, this work is important and we are doing our job and we've done it well," she said.
"Throughout the process the work was very intimidating and we were aware of the risks of tackling something like youth mental health.
"But over the course of the project we become more confident this was an important conversation to have.
"[Youth] are not afraid to talk about it. We need to connect to them and look to them."
She said the main message from the work, which was guided by the youths involved, was to talk to one another.
"Friends can hold you when you need them. No-one is alone in this," Ms Rose said.
It is her hope to tour My Black Dog, in both regional and metro areas, but she said that depended on funding and finding presentation partners.
The Inclusion Award went to the Rainbow Wave Festival Committee and the Pambula Mental Health Service for its mardis gras-style festival held for the first time in April in Pambula.
According to the award's citation, it was held to acknowledge the LGBTI community and the unique challenges they face in rural and regional areas.
The organisers wanted to create an inclusive event for everyone to come together in a safe space and show there is support in the wider community regardless of what sexual or gender issues a person may be struggling with.
Grand Pacific Health youth mental health manager Jenny Valdivia said the festival's organising committee was made up of a number of local agencies, young people and community members, which included headspace and GPH representatives.
"The organisers and contributors of the Rainbow Wave Festival are aware of the issues that our local and sexual and gender diverse community face and the importance of focusing on mental health as a result," she said.
"The event brought lots of different people together and also raised funds for the Bega headspace Youth LGBTIQA+ group."