Today is World Mental Health Day.
It’s an important global day for mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
Each year, an estimated 3.6 million Australians aged 16 to 85 years of age experience mental health problems.
This represents about 20 per cent of adults.
In addition, around 600,000 children and youth between the ages of 4 and 17 are affected by a clinically significant mental health problem.
According to the ABS, 3,027 Australians died by suicide in 2015 – a 5.4 per cent increase from the previous year.
As a community we are talking more about our mental health.
Slowly but surely, we are starting to reduce the stigma associated with mental issues.
However, these statistics are a stark reminder that more needs to be done to reduce the rates of mental ill health and suicide.
Labor knows that long-term mental health reform must remain a national priority.
During the election, Labor announced a target for a 50 per cent reduction in suicides over the next 10 years. Labor also committed $83.7 million to provide national leadership, including funding 12 regional suicide pilot projects.
It is only through working together that we will be able to finally reduce the impact of mental ill health and suicide in our society.
A lot of great work has already been done but we can and must do better.
It’s up to all of us to get involved if we are to make a difference.
**For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978**
MONDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2016