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inBalance newsletter

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Mental Health Association of Central Australia


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Date:2008-12; Dated: Jul.-Dec. 2008




Mental Health Services -- Australia, Central -- Periodicals; Aboriginal Australians -- Mental Health -- Periodicals

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Mental Health Association of Central Australia

Place of publication

Alice Springs


no. 18

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45 VicHealth states that our awareness of mental health in Australia is now, where we were approximately 25 years ago with issues such as cancer awareness and smoking. It takes many years for general awareness to grow and for targeted advertising campaigns to impact on changes in perceptions and behaviour. Years ago, we baked on the beach in the hot suntoday, policies In early September, I was fortunate to be able to attend the Margins to Mainstream conference (see page 52) and, preceding this, attended a jam-packed 2-day workshop run by VicHealth on Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing. VicHealth is playing a dynamic role in putting mental health firmly on the mainstream agenda, and their popular 2-day course informs people of the latest developments in mental health research. ensure all children wear hats in schools. Years ago, we thought smoking was cool and dignifiedtoday, images of black diseased lungs line our cigarette packets. Working Up Stream A key focus was on the promotion & prevention end of the spectrum on creating healthrather than on the treatment & care endtreating illness. An analogy offered is: shifting focus from the bottom of the cliff work to top of the cliff : u How can we work better up stream to prevent illness down stream? u How can we strengthen capacity to reduce the likelihood of illness? While providing services to people with mental illness, how can we also create environments to help people stay well: work more upstream? This can be particularly challenging for workers in the field who often have a dual roleneeding to treat illness as well as consider preventative approaches. Health is created outside the health sector! Many of the influences on mental health occur in the settings in which we live our day to day lives, such as our homes, schools, communities and work places. This means that many of the drivers of mental health and wellbeing lie outside of the health care system: (cont. next page) Why MH Promotion? A number of key factors influence the rationale behind VicHealths framework and focus: 1. By the year 2020 depression will constitute the second largest cause of disease burden worldwide 2. Cost factor: The global burden of ill health is well beyond the treatment capacitieswe cant cope with the existing need for treatmentand the social/economic costs will not be reduced by the treatment of mental disorders alone. We need to work on prevention at the same time as care/treatment 3. Mental health is fundamental to good physical health and quality of life. MHP will not only lower mental illness but will also help improve physical health 4. Social justice issues: Mental illness affects/is more prevalent among disadvantaged people: there is a clear need for the better distribution of resources 8-9 Sept 2008, Melbourne by Rita Riedel Promoting Mental Health & Wellbeing: The Bigger Picture Na tio na l MH Tr ain ing

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