Isobel Redmond Talks About Mental Health

Isobel Redmond Talks About Mental Health

South Australia Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Victor P Taffa

Yesterday marked the beginning of Mental Health Week in Australia, an annual event aiming to raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the stigma and discrimination attached to mental illnesses.

For many years, mental health was a taboo subject in society. But considering that one in five people will suffer from a mental health illness in Australia in the next 12 months, it is important that mental health awareness, and an open discussion about it, continues.




So let’s talk about mental health.

Last month, we observed R U Ok? Day a national day of action to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to ask their colleagues, friends and family members ‘Are you ok?’

Suicide is the leading cause of death for women aged 15 to 34 and for men aged 15-44 in Australia. In fact, more people die from suicide (2,130 in 2009) than from car accidents (1,479 in 2009) and skin cancer (1,837 in 2009).

Earlier this year, Liberal Member of the Legislative Council, the Hon. John Dawkins, introduced a motion in the South Australian Parliament calling on the Government to embrace a greater role for community based organisations in preventing suicide, such as the Community Response to Eliminating Suicide (CORES) program.

CORES are a community-based programme which educates local community members on how to intervene when they believe someone is suicidal. This programme is particularly useful in rural communities, where suicide and self-harm continue to be major health issues.

In regional Australia, suicide rates for young males are nearly twice those of males living in capital cities. Suicides in regional areas also have a substantial impact on close-knit communities.

In Strathalbyn, a mental health forum was held earlier this year to enable locals to have an open discussion of mental illness after a spate of suicides in the area.

It is imperative that we provide people with mental health issues in both metropolitan and regional areas with the support and the services that they need. However, it is just as important that an open discussion of mental health issues remains prominent in our community.

World Mental Health Week takes place between 9 and 15 October this year.