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National Mental Health Month 2019 - An Overview

NATIONAL MENTAL HEALTH MONTH 2019

Overview

The Mental Health Foundation Australia is launching the inaugural National Mental Health Month 2019.  The overarching aim of National Mental Health Month will be expanding on the overwhelming success of 2018 Victorian Mental Health Month and to promote better mental health and wellbeing more widely and to a national audience. National Mental Health Month will take place this year from October 1st- October 31st, 2019. 

With support already present from many Victorian mental health organisations as part of the 2018 Mental Health Month, the Mental Health Foundation Australia is now attempting to work together with other mental health organisations throughout Australia in order to make the 2019 National Mental Health Month a success. National Mental Health Month already has support from both the Federal Government, State Government of Victoria as well as numerous sponsors and now the Mental Health Foundation Australia would like to invite national mental health organisations to participate in the 2019 National Mental Health.

Why we are expanding?

Mental health issues are prevalent within the community to differing degrees and levels of disability. Approximately 9% of the Australian and Victorian population have a moderate to severe mental illness which would preclude them from the workforce and normal social interaction.

This is a major social burden which may manifest itself in an alcohol or substance abuse issue, anger, frustration and other impaired social functioning.At a societal level the problem is so prevalent that it is estimated that 45% of the population will experience a period of significant mental illness during their lifetime.

Clearly many programs and strategies are required to deal with the complex and diverse mental health needs of the community and bringing together many national mental health organisations to coordinate as one will assist in providing better support to those struggling with mental illness.

 

Objectives

2019 National Mental Health Month will hope to build upon the successful Victorian 2018 model in conjunction with other interstate organisations by implementing a National Strategy that will consist of:
  • Cooperatively work with national mental health organisations into a single promotional platform;
  • Organising a Mental Health and Wellbeing Walk in each state and territories of Australia on the same day and at the same time;
  • Establishing multicultural support groups to provide support, assistance and education to CALD communities in all states and territories;
  • Daily Mental Health e-news to reach out to all Australian communities;
  • National Mayoral Conference attended by all local government council mayors to promote mental health and wellbeing.
  • Promoting Education seminars and workshops on Mental health awareness in all states and territories;

Implementation

 The Mental Health Foundation Australia intends on implementing this strategy by reaching out to our interstate networks in the Mental Health Sector and attaining the support of major state-based organisation to run and coordinate our Mental Health and Wellbeing Walk as running their own events as part of National Mental Health Month. 

 The Mental Health Foundation Australia is planning many events that cover numerous subsections of our community.

 A strong focus of the events organised will be on the youth of our society, particularly on the age group of 16-25. 1 in 5 young Australians experience a mental health condition. The young adult period is characterized by rapid physiological, sexual, cognitive, and emotional changes. Many young adults also move into new adult roles and responsibilities. They may begin higher education studies, enter the workforce, move away from home, or start a family. They may be expected to accept responsibility for themselves legally, make decisions for themselves, and, in many cases, are often encouraged to begin supporting themselves financially. As part of National Mental Health Month 2019, two major youth-oriented events will be run. These include the ‘Future Leaders Conference’ which will be focused on the issue of school absenteeism and bullying and the ‘Youth and Wellbeing Conference’ which will be focused on youth mental health services. Another focus of National Mental Health Month will be on CALD communities. Many individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse background (CALD) face additional adjustment issues. The phases of premigration, migration and post migration impose enormous adjustment stresses on families and individuals which can detrimentally affect mental health and wellbeing. Therefore, the inclusion of CALD communities will be an additional major focus of National Mental Health Month. Some events that we have planned for CALD communities include our Multicultural Gala Dinner, Australian Multicultural Festival, Shakti Classical Music and Dance, ABBS function as well as our Western Metropolitan Mental Health Forum that will focus on Multicultural mental health.

 National Mental Health will also focus on promoting better mental health and wellbeing in local government areas. In Victoria, the Mental Health Foundation Australia will have eight separate local government forums that will target the eight local government regions that make up Victoria. These forums include:

-       Southern Metropolitan Region Forum- focusing on ‘Aging and Mental Health’
-       South Eastern Metropolitan Forum- focusing on ‘Youth Suicide and Mental Health’
-       Eastern Region Forum- focusing on ‘Unemployment and Mental Health’
-       Eastern Metropolitan Forum- focusing on ‘Youth Mental Health’
-       Western Metropolitan Forum- focusing on ‘Multicultural Mental Health’
-       Western Region Forum- focusing on ‘Food and Mental Health’’
-       Northern Region Forum- focusing on ‘Alcohol, Drugs and Mental Health’
-       Northern Metropolitan Forum- focusing on ‘Addiction and Mental Health’

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Walk will also be a major part of Mental Health Month. This year, the aim of the Mental Health Foundation Australia is to have a Mental Health Walk run in all capital cities on the same day at the same starting time. The Victorian version of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Walk will take place on 20th October 2019 at 10am and we hope to see other national mental health organisations organise walks in their home state that coincide with the timing of Victorian version. 

How to get involved?

We ask that Mental Health Organisations around Australia get involved in Mental Health Month by collaborating with other mental health organisations in their state and organise their own version of the Mental Health and Wellbeing walk to coincide with the Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Walk on the 20th October 2019. We also ask that mental health organisations also create their own events to coincide with Mental Health Month and register those events with the Mental Health Foundation Australia on our website.

 The Foundation request you all to join us for this crucial initiative of National Mental Health Month 2019.