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RUOK Day: AASW calls for better mental health support funding

Published: 7 September 2017

RUOK Day on 14 September reminds us that we need to normalise and better respond to the ongoing mental health needs faced by our communities, the Australian Association of Social Workers’ Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Smith, said today.

“RUOK Day as an important opportunity for all Australians to talk to their friends, family and colleagues about their wellbeing,” said Ms Smith.

She says social workers work closely with people experiencing mental health challenges and welcome creative initiatives that normalise mental health needs and build community relationships.

“Unfortunately, Australia is still seeing growing rates of suicide and mental health overlapping with social problems and people’s needs are not being met,” said Ms Smith.

“We know that social and environmental factors can have a significant impact on people’s mental health and that social inequalities are associated with poorer health and mental health outcomes.”

Ms Smith says the mental health sector needs greater funding, more equitable and accessible services, and government policies that foster the creation of supportive and inclusive communities.

“This RUOK Day, we need to do all we can to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and encourage people to seek support,” she said.

The Australian Association of Social Workers encourages anyone seeking support to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, MensLine on 1300 78 99 78, and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or visit their GP.

The AASW represents over 10,000 professional social workers, many of whom work at the forefront of mental health.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers