On behalf of Australia’s Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler, I would like to begin by acknowledging our host country Italy, fellow ministers of state, and the organisers of the Global Mental Health Summit for bringing together 52 delegations, including 45 countries from across the world, to advance a community focused approach to mental health.
To those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and psychosocial disability joining us here today, I reaffirm Australia’s commitment to embed lived and living experience into leadership and decision making.
It has been a privilege to represent the Australian Government at this summit and in doing so, I acknowledge our First Nations People and the stark disparity in mental health outcomes and the Albanese Government’s commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart to establish a First Nations Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the Constitution.
As part of an incoming government, it has been incredibly valuable to join this summit, to meet with leaders from across the world - including through many bi-laterals - to learn from our shared experiences and demonstrate Australia’s strong commitment to international co-operation in global health.
As Minister Speranza said, there are now more than a billion people living with mental ill-health, and we know in Australia the prevalence is rising.
Two in five Australians experience a mental health disorder during their lifetime, with young women and girls particularly impacted in what is being described as a shadow pandemic.
Australians have experienced cumulative trauma through natural disasters - drought, the Black Summer Bushfires and large-scale flooding.
The impacts of climate change have a profound impact on mental health and well-being and that’s why Australia is committed to embedding mental health responses into our National Emergency Management and taking action on climate change.
Our government has set out to take a whole of government, community-led approach to mental health and well-being, firmly underpinned by the social determinants.
As has been said repeatedly at these fora, there is no health without mental health.
Our approach will be evidence based and we are determined to embed lived and living experience in leadership and decision making.
In conclusion, I reaffirm Australia’s commitment to work co-operatively globally - because only by working together will we achieve the change we are all determined to realise.