Mental health has been a huge concern for me and my family as we continue to work to reduce the stigma and stigma-causing effects of mental illness.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to find answers and understanding for my condition and I’ve been blessed with so many incredible mental health professionals.
But despite their expertise, it’s been difficult to be part of a community where mental health is not acknowledged as a priority.
This is not about one mental health provider alone; we need to build a broader community and support system to address mental health issues in Australia and around the world.
Mental health is a universal right and we all have a part to play in helping to make this happen.
I want to take this opportunity to outline how I want our country to move forward.
My experience of living with mental illness was never about “being a bad person”, it was about living with the stigma of mental health and living with an individual’s inability to make sense of it.
I know that it can be hard to accept your condition and to be a part of the healing process.
I understand how important it is to support someone who is struggling with a mental illness, to understand the complexities of a disorder, and to understand what to do when you need support and to share that with others.
I will work to support mental health services across our country by ensuring they are better equipped to understand mental health needs and offer the best possible care.
The mental health community has been so important to me and the work I’ve done as a doctor has been driven by my commitment to help others.
My belief that everyone can make a difference is a core part of who I am.
But the stigma associated with mental health has never been about the individual, it has always been about who I was.
I hope my story inspires other Australians to understand that there are many people who have mental health challenges who are willing to work with their community to make a positive difference.
Mental Health Services Minister Peter Dutton has made some significant progress in the last three years in recognising mental health as a human right and will continue to do so.
But mental health can be a difficult issue to address when people are isolated from the community and the stigma can be incredibly powerful.
There are many barriers to addressing mental health, such as the stigma that surrounds it, the stigma around mental illness and the need to be well-informed.
There is also the fact that people with mental illnesses may be less likely to seek help, or if they do seek help are not able to access the resources they need.
In order to support and understand people with a disability in a way that respects their unique needs, I will make a range of commitments that will ensure that the Australian Government is in a position to better provide the services people with disabilities need.
I believe that we can do better than what we currently have, so my Government will invest $4 billion over three years to support the development of the next generation of mental healthcare experts, with the goal of developing the capacity of health professionals to provide a wide range of services to people with disability.
The new Mental Health and Disability Transformation (MHDT) Minister has made significant progress over the past few years, including: $1.4 billion to invest in more evidence-based research, including in understanding the mechanisms of how mental health symptoms may be exacerbated by social exclusion and how to prevent this.
$1 billion to create an evidence-led system to assess the impacts of social exclusion on people with learning disabilities and their families.
$700 million to create a framework for developing mental health policies and services to support people with intellectual disability and their children.
$250 million to support community-based mental health support in underserved communities.
$200 million to build capacity in health care systems to provide support for people with physical, speech and visual impairments.
In the next year, I intend to deliver additional funding to support these and other commitments.
The Australian Medical Association has been working to promote better communication about mental health for some time.
I support the MHA’s commitment to a better communication framework and look forward to continuing to work closely with the MHB and the Minister to support this commitment.
My Government has also announced that we will: Invest $1 million over three months to improve access to mental health care for people in undersabled communities, including providing free access to counselling, education and health support services for people living in vulnerable circumstances.
Support the development and implementation of the Mental Health Australia Network, which will provide mental health information, support, information and referrals for people who are vulnerable, and provide information and referral services for other people living with a disorder.
To increase mental health awareness and awareness about mental illness in our community, we will work with the Minister on a new $20 million Mental Health Awareness Week initiative, which is expected to increase awareness about the disorder and the benefits of support.
We will continue our work to provide the best care and support