As the peak body for suicide prevention, Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) is a strong advocate for public awareness campaigns that aim to reduce the stigma related to mental health and help seeking for suicide, and to increase access to care.
Today on World Mental Health Day (10 October), and the entire month of October, SPA is very proud to support members and partners in a range of campaigns and activities to raise awareness of issues and inspire community conversation about mental health.
In the National Coalition for Suicide Prevention’s paper in response to the first ever World Health Organisation (WHO) World Suicide Report, we recognised Australia’s expertise in health promotion and social marketing campaigns. For example, anti-smoking, HIV/AIDS and road trauma. We have also seen significant improvements made in community awareness and attitudes towards depression as a result of government investment. When we work together, we can make a difference.
Further, this paper emphasised the need to look at treatment of the whole person across the health system not just their mental health diagnosis. That is, look at public health strategies and funding for the protective social and wellbeing factors for all individuals at risk of suicide, including those managing mental health issues. We continue to raise this with government and are committed to working with our members to make this happen at all levels of policy and program development, where appropriate.
As we focus on World Mental Health Day today, I’d also like to recognise the efforts for World Suicide Prevention Day last month. Health professionals and community members from across the country promoted the importance of connecting with support and services for suicide prevention. We were also proud to facilitate an online discussion of expert panellists, hosted by journalist Mike Munro, to discuss Australia’s progress in suicide prevention. This webcast is available on demand for you to watch and share at your convenience.
Take care and keep talking about mental health and wellbeing, today and every day. Don’t forget to make your mental health promise and have a look at others (including mine) on 1010.org.au