A message from our CEO, Irene Gallagher, on World Mental Health Day.
As a global campaign, World Mental Health Day is recognised as a day ‘to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health’ (World Health Organisation).
Commenced in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health, World Mental Health Day is marked by many on the calendar as being a day of recognition in advancing the prevention of mental and emotional distress, and promoting mental health as a whole. It is a day when many organisations and individuals host events such as raising awareness of mental health issues, training and education to foster an understanding of the challenges faced by people living with mental health issues.
Many can attest that the past two years have not been easy for our community. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, seen initially as a physical crisis, has had serious impacts on people living with mental health issues as well as the broader community.
As a ‘grassroots’ consumer run organisation, BEING – Mental Health Consumers has had a long standing history of working with people who live with mental health issues to address stigma, call out discrimination, and raise the voices of the community we serve. Importantly, people living with mental health issues need to be front and centre at key decision making tables. Much is discussed about co-design, yet our advocacy continues to be focused on consumer leadership, after all as consumers or people living with mental health issues, we know what works and what doesn’t, we know what affordable and effective treatment and support looks like, and we also know that trauma is prevalent for the community we serve.
This World Mental Health Day, BEING – Mental Health Consumers has chosen to embrace Mental Health Australia’s campaign Look after your mental health, Australia, and the World Federation for Mental Health’s work Mental Health in An Unequal World. They both resonate strongly for us, one for its human rights of addressing and raising the issue of inequality for all, including people who experience mental health issues, and the other for the nurturing and care we all need during this time, from ourselves and from others.
To find out about our #ReclaimingOurRights campaign and what’s happening this Mental Health Month, click here.