Support a System which supports Mental Wellness

Samaritans CEO

This October is Mental Health Month, a time for reflection, care and awareness.  Mental illness is a prominent issue in Australia: the Living Well report found that 45 per cent of Australians will be affected by mental illness at some point in their life. Yet, out of all illnesses, mental and psycho-social wellbeing is possibly the most misunderstood; for countless years it was ignored and stigmatised.

Recent years have seen a turn in that sentiment. Awareness campaigns such as ‘R U Ok’ day and the work of organisations such as headspace have improved public understanding of the issue.

Despite this, research shows that for the most part suicide rates have increased in New South Wales.  Moreover, per population, regional and remote areas of the state experience more suicides than their major city counterparts.  The impact of mental health concerns extends to family members, workplaces, communities and the economy.

It is my belief that a way to mitigate this issue and save lives is to invest in community health services.  At Samaritans, we run multiple mental wellness services targeted at early intervention.  Programs such as Kaiyu, Clinical Services Unit and headspace aim to support mental wellness through therapy, community involvement, and education.  Our services aim to treat mental illness such as depression and anxiety early and equip individuals with the knowledge, support and coping tools needed. In doing so, we empower people suffering from mental illness to continue living their fullest life.

Too often, we wait until it is too late to do something about mental illness. Whilst our community inarguably needs crisis support for mental illness, it also needs readily available, adequately funded early intervention programs.  No individual should have to experience crisis point in order to prompt the support they require.

This Mental Health Month I ask you to publically support people with mental illness by calling for a health system which adequately cares for them- to live up to this year’s theme and Share the Journey.

For more information on Samaritans mental health services click here or if you need to talk to someone now call Lifeline on 13 11 14.