By JACKIE CROWE
Every year, one in five adults, or 3.2 million Australians, will have a mental health difficulty while 45 per cent of the Australian adult population will experience mental illness at some point in their lifetime. In short, mental illness is an issue that touches everyone in some way.
In the National Mental Health Commission’s first National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention released last year, we made a commitment to ensuring that people always have a voice and remain at the centre of decision-making about the services that impact on them. We believe that building a comprehensive picture of people’s lives and experiences is essential in driving real improvement in people’s lives.
That’s why the Commission’s Contributing Life Conversations project is so important. Until Sunday 11 August, we’re asking all Australians to take an hour out from your busy lives and sit down with your family, friends or colleagues and talk about what ‘A Contributing Life’ means to you.
My colleague, National Mental Health Commissioner Janet Meagher sums it up well when she says that people with a mental illness want and need the same things as everyone else. Simply put, this means having a place to call home, something meaningful to do, and strong connections to your family, your community and your culture. It also means having good physical health and general wellbeing, and access to effective care, treatment and services.
At the Commission we believe that everyone has a right to lead a ‘Contributing Life’, whatever that means for them, and that all of us can play a part in helping those living with and recovering from mental illness, their families and carers to achieve the life they want.