Western NSW Local Health District shed a positive light on mental illness

On World Mental Health Day, the Western NSW Local Health District is urging everyone to raise awareness and reduce the stigma.

This year's campaign 'Do You See What I See?' encouraged people to make a mental health promise and shed a more positive light on mental health in a bid to reduce stigma for the one in five Australian who are affected by mental illness annually.

WNSWLHD Acting Director of Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Helen McFarlane said it's time to look at mental illness in a different light - a positive light.

"The vast majority of people affected by mental illness are able to lead independent and contributing lives in the community, with the right treatment and support," she said.

"With one in five Australians affected, they form part of our close circles of family, friends and colleagues, and interact with us in our communities every day."

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Do You See What I See? challenges perceptions about mental illness in Australia and encourages everyone to look at mental health in a more positive light, in an effort to reduce stigma and make way for more people to seek the help and support they deserve.

Stigma around mental illness due to misunderstanding or prejudice remains an issue in Australia, delaying or preventing people from wanting or feeling able to seek help, and impacting adversely on their lives.

Ms McFarlane is urging people to connect with others this October, to improve their mental health and build resilience.

"Be brave, be bold, be honest, and share your mental health story with friends, family members and others close to you," she said.

"Nearly half of all Australians will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime, and those who don't will most likely know someone who does."

The NSW Government has committed in the 2019-20 budget a record investment of $2.2 billion into mental health services and infrastructure for people living with men tal illness, their families and carers.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For mental health services please contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.