10 October 2016


Today is World Mental Health Day (10 October 2016) and this week is National Mental Health Week (9 – 15 October 2016).

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann has urged local residents to stop, take a breath and consider their own mental health and wellbeing.

“Mental health always begins with ourselves so it is important we take time to do one thing that helps us consider our own needs.

“We know that one in four adults experience mental health difficulties at one time or the other and too many receive little or no help when they present in an emergency.

“This Mental Health Day we need to become more proficient in psychological and mental health first aid for ourselves and others.”

National Mental Health Week coincides with World Mental Health Day, to promote social and emotional wellbeing to the community, encouraging people to maximise their health potential, enhance the coping capacity of communities, families, individuals and increasing mental health recovery.

Each year, an estimated 3.6 million Australians aged 16 to 85 years of age experience mental health problems. This represents about 20 per cent of adults.

In addition, around 600,000 children and youth between the ages of 4 and 17 are affected by a clinically significant mental health problem.

According to the ABS, 3,027 Australians died by suicide in 2015 – a 5.4 per cent increase from the previous year.

“As a community we are talking more about our mental health and the stigma is beginning to reduce.

“However, these statistics are a stark reminder that more needs to be done to reduce the rates of mental ill health and suicide.

“In particular we need men to be more vigilant of their own mental health and be aware of their own mates and colleagues.

“Men are more than three times likely to die by suicide than women, while men aged 85 years and over have the highest rate of any gender in the country. They are dying by their own hand at a rate of almost 40 people in every 100,000.

“Ipswich and the Somerset Region are home to some high risk groups including serving and ex-serving defence members, farmers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“I believe that long-term mental health reform must remain a national priority.”

During the election, Labor announced a target for a 50 per cent reduction in suicides over the next 10 years. Labor also committed $83.7 million to provide national leadership, including funding 12 regional suicide pilot projects.

“It is only through working together that we will be able to finally reduce the impact of mental ill health and suicide in our society.

“A lot of great work has already been done but we can and must do better.

“It’s up to all of us to get involved if we are to make a difference.

**For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Other services include Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978**