Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mental Health

I received this email from a dear friend who is clearly passionate about the topic, and so I am posting it for you all to read. I don't think mental health is taken seriously enough in Australia. It's a huge problem, and it needs to be addressed.

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Dear esteemed friends and family,

Please don't delete this straight away. Hear me out. I'm not normally the chain-mail sort of person (quite the opposite actually), so hopefully this indicates the importance of this.

I send this email to you because mental health is an issue close to my heart, and the Australian Government can no longer sweep this issue under the carpet. Professor John Mendoza, head advisor to the Federal Government on mental health, has just resigned; citing years upon years of empty promises and inaction of the Federal Government as the cause. Instead he has sparked this campaign as he believes that public action is the only way to make the government listen. Teen and young adult suicide is a leading killer in Australia; so many of these deaths can be prevented by raising awareness of mental health and providing the necessary early intervention, prevention and treatment services to those who need them.

I have suffered from both severe depression and from Generalised Anxiety Disorder at various stages of my life. By far the worst part was the feeling of loneliness that these conditions cause. Just being able to be heard, to simply have somebody to listen to what is going on inside your head, is an incredibly powerful tool in the fight against mental illness. Sadly, many GPs are inexperienced with dealing with mental health issues; instead of emphasising the importance of seeking the help and guidance of a Psychologist, often they simply describe anti-depressants and send you on your way. We need to educate our GPs, we need to educate our young people on the symptoms of depression and other mental disorders, and we need to start talking about this very real issue that affects one in five Australians at some point throughout their lifetime.

Remove the stigma from mental illness now. Help your fellow Australians fight this battle of loneliness. Help to raise awareness of mental health, in memory of the thousands of Australians who lose their lives every year, because nobody will listen.

Go here www.getup.org.au/campaign/mentalhealth and sign Professor Mendoza's electronic petition - hell, enter a fake email address if you are worried about spam!

And please remember to forward this to anybody you know who will understand and give their support.

With love,


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