Thursday, August 4th, 2011
Mental health in Australia is an issue that often falls into the ‘taboo’ category- it’s not something that is openly discussed. In lieu of the federal government’s proposed budget cuts on mental health funding- in particular significant cuts to the Better Access to Mental Health Care program- it is time for Australian’s to be more aware of the commonality that is mental health issues (including depression, anxiety and suicide) and what important steps can be made to stop the negative stigma so often associated with these issues.

Michael Quinn attempted suicide in 2009. He is one of the many success stories thanks to the Better Access program- successfully completing all 18 sessions with a psychologist; sessions that are going to be cut down to 10 if the government goes ahead with the cuts, expected to take place in November 2011.

There are a number of areas that need to be recognised for a truly successful approach to mental health issues in Australia.

The first is awareness of organisations that operate in the mental health space- places like Beyond Blue, The Black Dog, Lifeline and so forth.

“It’s fair enough to know these services exist,” says Quinn. “But how do you know at what point you need to be contacting them? That education process doesn’t happen at all.”

An education process for the public to be able to recognise warning signs and symptoms, and know when it is appropriate to act, is a vital step in tackling mental illness before it is too late.

“Another aspect of it is education of sufferers,” says Quinn. “I can’t tell you how hard it is to put your hand up and say ‘I need help’. We need to educate everybody- especially those who are in the early stages, so that they realise it’s okay to talk.”

In Quinn’s own experience, he did whatever he could to hide his depression -something that could have proved fatal. The embarrassment and shame that is a direct result of the negative stigma attached to mental illness is something that can be avoided if awareness and education is more frequently focused on these issues.

Suicide in particular is a discussion that is often shied away from. Quinn believes that if the negative stigma associated with mental illness can be broken down, and people are more openly discussing these issues, then suicide will become less frequent.

“To me, it’s all part of a coordinated approach to bring mental illness out of the darkness and banish the isolation as much as possible, so that we can be proactive in preventing it, we can be aware of people experiencing it, and we can take actions that reverse these problems.”

Quinn is organising a petition directly to the House of Representatives, hoping to be lodged mid-August- regarding the significant cut proposals to be made in mental health funding.

To sign the petition, or to organise an interview with Quinn, please contact;

Hollie Azzopardi
Media Advisor
Stolen Quotes

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Stolen Quotes

Stolen Quotes is a global PR, media and communications firm.
Hollie Azzopardi
P: 02 9299 8883
M: 0403665661


depression, suicide, mental health, federal government, health, Better Access



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