Norco is one the food and baking brands that have joined forces for #PlateForAMate 2022, a campaign that aims to remind Australians of the power of shared meals to bolster mental health.

Products from the key brands — which also includes Green’s Baking, Delite Mandarins, Humpty Doo Barramundi, Three Threes Condiments and Our Cow — are brought to life in short films by acclaimed chefs and Australian icons who love to cook.

The videos transport Australians into the private kitchens of Manu and Clarissa Feildel, Orazio D’Elia, Jason Roberts, Diana Chan, Sarah Todd, Tom Walton, presenter James Tobin, former AFL player and anti-racism advocate Adam Goodes, singer-songwriter Dami Im and comedian Dilruk Jayasinha.

Viewers are also urged to donate to the Black Dog Institute.

This year the focus is on supporting the mental health of regional and rural communities, such as farmers, and people devastated by recent natural disasters.

Budding home cooks can learn to cook nourishing recipes specifically designed to be shared with loved ones, while hearing personal anecdotes, insights and memories about the chefs’ and icons’ lives and love of food.

“Mental illness is so prevalent so it’s imperative we have continued conversations about it,” Manu Feildel said.

“For me, the relationship between food and wellness is inseparable so I am very excited to be involved in this project.”

Natural disasters are highlighting regional Australia’s mental health crisis.

While 20 per cent of Australians will experience a mental illness each year, 68 per cent of Australians living in rural and remote areas have experienced depression and anxiety during the past two years. This over-representation is exacerbated by 26 per cent of these patients having to wait four to six weeks to access support.

“We are so pleased that #PlateForAMate is aligning with us and has prioritised delivering mental health training in regional and rural communities through the Black Dog Institute,” Black Dog Institute’s Sarah Connor said.

This new offering by the Black Dog Institute to provide mental health training in remote communities is in response to findings that there are currently 2.5 million Australians that could benefit from low-intensity mental health services.

“We know that preventative measures and catching signs early are key to help and that’s why we offer mental health training programs in locations where support may be limited,” Sarah said.

In 2021, #PlateForAMate raised $160,000 to combat rising food insecurity as a result of COVID-19.

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This article was first published by Dairy News Australia, you can find the original here.