Australia’s elephant in the room drops into Hyde Park

It’s the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about – mental health.

And During Mental Health Week (8-14 October),  Wesley Mission will be taking mental health and well being to the Sydney CBD with a message as big as an elephant so Australians can start talking about mental health.

A giant inflatable elephant will be stationed in Hyde Park North on Tuesday 10 October and on Friday 13 October between 8 – 10 am and from 12 – 2 pm. Wesley Mission representatives will be in Hyde Park sharing the message and handing out miniature elephants.

One in five people will suffer from mental illness this year. Men are more than twice as likely as women to have substance abuse disorders. Up to 90 per cent of eating disorders occur in women, and affect ninety per cent of the population. One in six young Australians are currently experiencing an anxiety condition.

Wesley Mission CEO the Rev. Dr Keith Garner said that as a community we can’t afford to being quiet about this.

“People face a range of challenging conditions and disorders. While recent surveys show that Australian public opinion has shown a more accepting understanding of people with mental illness a stigma remains around other conditions like bipolar, addictions, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders and others,” said Rev. Dr Garner.

“Private hospitals provide a broad range of mental health services, often dealing with complex cases. They treat around 36,000 people each year. The Australians seeking help for addictions, eating disorders, complex mental health conditions and PTSD also need our understanding and support.”

Mental illness is not limited to depression; it impacts all Australians who are experiencing anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders and even suicide. It also affects families and friends.

Wesley Mission has a long history of early intervention and prevention in the area of suicide prevention and mental health. It established Lifeline in 1963 which extends across Australia and in 16 countries around the world. Last year Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland, which Wesley Mission continues to operate, answered more than 37,000 calls for help and support.

Wesley LifeForce was established in 1995 to help empower community members to support people at risk of requiring crisis services.  Since then more than 35,000 Australians have been trained in suicide prevention learning hands-on, practical strategies in how to deal with a suicidal person while increasing knowledge and confidence to handle crisis situations. It takes workshop participants beyond a conversation to action so people can get professional help from mental health and allied health services. The evidence based program is also assisting communities to connect with resources they need to prevent suicide and build collective resilience.

Wesley Mission has also helped to support and establish more than 70 suicide prevention networks across Australia. These community based networks cover a range of community settings from urban and metropolitan, to regional, rural, and remote. Suicide prevention networks are one of the most effective ways of raising community awareness about suicide. The networks empower members to develop appropriate suicide prevention strategies.

It also operates Wesley Hospital Kogarah and Wesley Hospital Ashfield, which deal with addictions, and a wide variety of mental health issues such as bipolar, addictions, anxiety, substance abuse and eating disorders. It is one of only 16 hospitals nationally accredited to provide Post Traumatic Disorder counselling for armed services veterans.




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