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Mental Health Week 2014 begins

Vinnies has a strong commitment to assisting people with mental illness, which includes helping to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

We are proud to support Mental Health Week 2014 (Oct 5th to 11th). Mental Health Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the wider community.

Mental Health Week is an annual national awareness event held every year to coincide withWorld Mental Health Day (WMHD), which is being held on Friday 10th October, 2014.

Living with schizophrenia

The theme for WMHD 2014 is “Living with schizophrenia”. The focus of the World Health Organization (WHO) will be living a healthy life with schizophrenia.

The WHO defines schizophrenia as a severe mental disorder, characterised by profound disruptions in thinking, affecting language, perception, and the sense of self. It often includes experiences such as hearing voices or delusions. It can impair functioning through the loss of an acquired capability to earn a livelihood, or the disruption of studies.

Schizophrenia typically onsets in late adolescence or early adulthood. Most cases of schizophrenia can be treated, and people affected by it can lead a productive life and be integrated in society.

Understanding mental health 

Almost half of Australians between 16 and 85 have experienced mental health issues at some point in their life.  An individual’s mental health crisis almost never occurs in isolation:  it is intertwined with housing stress, employment options, race, gender, class, place, and the success or otherwise of previous mental health interventions.   Our support for this Social Determinants of Health model is outlined in our recent submission to the current Senate Inquiry into Health.

The St Vincent de Paul Society is calling for a new approach to mental health in Australia that recognises these intersectional issues, and focuses on community education and early intervention.

In April 2014, Vinnies made a submission to the National Mental Health Commission’s review of mental health services and programs.

In addition to calling for an intersectional approach to mental health policy, the submission also outlined Vinnies support for a Fifth National Mental Health Plan to be developed for the period 2014-2019.

The Commission is expected to deliver its report to the federal government in November 2014. To see the full set of recommendations Vinnies has made please read our submission.

What Vinnies does

Assisting over two million Australian each year, members of the St Vincent de Paul Society inevitably come into contact with a large number of people experiencing mental illness. We work directly with people experiencing mental health difficulties, helping them to reconnect with the community.  Please visit the Find Help section of our website to find out more information.

Our Compeer program is an internationally recognised and award‑winning volunteer program that helps people with mental illness through friendships and support. Compeer matches volunteers in one-to-one friendship with people who have become socially isolated due to mental illness.

In Western Australia, the Society run Vincentcare, which offers accommodation and support to people with a lived experience of severe and enduring mental illness or homelessness. If you would like to get involved, you can become a volunteer in the Society’s Compeer Friendship Program that operates in ACT, NSW, QLD and VIC. You can also volunteer for a host of other services that we offer.

Mental Health Begins with Me! 

To mark Mental Health Week 2014 in Australia, the sector’s peak body, Mental Health Australia is coordinating the campaign, Mental Health Begins with Me! . The campaign has secured the support of well-known Australian personalities and singers, such as Missy Higgins, and it encourages people to take personal ownership of their own mental health and wellbeing.

To do this, the campaign focusses on a simple, personal mental health promise that can be made by anyone, regardless of their own mental health. You don’t have to have a mental illness to take part; you just need to have an interest in your own good health, which is important to everyone.

Important information

  • Visit the Mental Health Begins With Me! campaign website run by Mental Health Australia.
  • Twitter hastag: #wmhd2014
  • Read Vinnies submission to the National Mental Health Commission’s review of mental health services and programs made in April, 2014.
  • Find out more about Vinnies services and programs by visiting the Find Help section of this website

If you or someone you know needs urgent help please contact one of these national 24/7 crisis services:

About Vinnies

St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation working towards a more just and compassionate society.

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