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World Mental Health Day: everybody has the right to thrive

Published: 6 October 2017

World Mental Health Day (10 October 2017) is an important date to renew our society’s commitment to reducing stigma and encouraging people to seek support, the Australian Association of Social Workers’ Chief Executive, Cindy Smith, said today.

“We need understanding communities, greater resourcing and a system of services that is organised around peoples’ needs,” said Ms Smith.

“Millions of Australians experience mental health issues so we need to address the stigma associated with these. Particularly at risk are excluded, disadvantaged or marginalised people who experience intensified life stress.”

With suicide a leading cause of death for Australians aged 15–44 years (Australian Bureau of Statistics), there needs to be a significant shift in how we understand and support mental health issues in Australia, Ms Smith says.

“Good mental health is supported by inclusive communities and a sense of connectedness,” said Ms Smith.

“We’ve seen some significant changes to mental health policy and services in Australia but every day social workers continue to see the compounding impact of social disadvantage on mental health.

“No-one should feel like they have to face mental health issues alone.”

The AASW represents over 10,000 professional social workers, many of whom work at the forefront of mental health. It encourages anyone seeking mental health support to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, MensLine on 1300 78 99 78, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or to visit their GP.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers