New initiatives for better understanding of mental health
The Australian Government has marked World Mental Health Day 2007 with the launch of two initiatives to promote better understanding and awareness of mental health in Australia. The first features translated versions of five fact sheets on mental illness, with the second supporting writers of film, television and theatre to portray mental illness more authentically in their work.
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10 October 2007
The Australian Government today marked World Mental Health Day 2007 with the launch of two initiatives to promote better understanding and awareness of mental health in Australia.
The first features translated versions of five fact sheets on mental illness, with the second supporting writers of film, television and theatre to portray mental illness more authentically in their work.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Brett Mason, said the Government had provided $650,000 to Multicultural Mental Health Australia to translate the fact sheets into 21 languages to help people with a different language better understand mental health concerns and the services available to them.
“Almost six million Australians were born outside Australia, and just as mental illness doesn’t discriminate along gender, age or status lines, neither does it discriminate along cultural lines,” Senator Mason said.
“Some of these Australians have come from extraordinarily difficult backgrounds – including war-torn countries and extreme poverty – that can have an impact on their mental health.”
The fact sheets cover topics including: What is mental illness? What is an anxiety disorder? What is a personality disorder? What is an eating disorder? and What is schizophrenia?
The second initiative, developed with the Australian Writers’ Guild, the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and SANE Australia, is part of the Mindframe National Media Initiative, the Government’s national strategy to assist media to better report on and portray matters about mental illness and suicide.
The Government is providing $317,000 for the Mindframe Stage and Screen Project for workshops and print and online resources for writers to help them develop well-informed, sensitive and engaging material about mental health issues.
“Film, television and theatre exert a powerful influence on community attitudes towards mental illness and suicide,” Senator Mason said.
“This initiative will help writers and others to more appropriately portray suicide and craft realistic characters with a mental illness.”
The Australian Government has provided $1.9 billion over five years to increase access to mental health services across Australia. This is the single largest investment in mental health by any government in Australia.
For more information, call Senator Mason’s office on 02–6277 3756
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