'get Over It': Normalising Mental Illness

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5th October 2010, 09:00am - Views: 937
'Get Over It': Understanding Mental Health Makes Communities Stronger

5 October 2010

It's time for the community to get over hang ups about mental health and be empowered to help people in need, according to ANGLICARE Sydney.

"The prevalence of mental illness is such that most of us live, work, chat and laugh with people every day who may need a bit of help at some stage ", said Ian Jackson, Director of Community Care at ANGLICARE Sydney.

In 2007 the Australian Government's National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing found that every year one in five Australians experiences some form of mental illness, across the full spectrum of need.

Mr Jackson said continuing stigma about mental health is a significant issue that may prevent people from seeking help and that it's time people were at ease speaking about mental illness.

"We know that mental illness is just that an illness that takes various forms. We should not be ashamed to speak about our needs or to provide help, but instead be confident and considerate in giving support.

"This all the more important because nearly two thirds of people with a mental illness do not seek formal support. Opening space to talk, listen and offer support makes us a stronger community", said Mr Jackson.

ANGLICARE Sydney is calling on the State and Federal Governments to improve community-based mental health services, particularly for people re-entering the community after treatment.

"Too often we work with people who have started living in the community again, but have not been connected with social support. As a result they become very isolated and risk having a relapse", said Jill Wrathall, Manager of ANGLICARE's Eastern Sydney services.

Ms Wrathall says programs like the Australian Government's Personal Helpers and Mentors program (PHaMS) run by ANGLICARE in South East Sydney are proving very effective.

"PHaMS is a great program because participants lead the process of setting goals they are actively involved and feel empowered to make choices about their future ", said Ms Wrathall.

ANGLICARE Sydney is also adding value to services for young people. "Early intervention and awareness is a win-win; it normalises mental illness by making help accessible and empowering people to care better for themselves and others in the future", said Ian Jackson.

ANGLICARE Sydney's Mental Health Fact Sheet with `Top Tips on Mental Health' and service locations is at www.anglicare.org.au.

For interviews call:
Ian Jackson, Director, Community Care, ANGLICARE Sydney - 0432 001 000
Jill Wrathall, Manager ANGLICARE South East Sydney 0413 605 289
Christian Riolo, Program Manager PHaMS (02) 8362 3700

Media contact: Angus Belling, 0411 779 337

SOURCE: Anglicare Sydney

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