Victoria’s Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge has praised the contribution of young people in helping to de-stigmatise mental illness by promoting positive and supportive messages about depression and other mental illnesses.
Ms Wooldridge told hundreds of young people that their participation at the official opening of Mental Health Week activities sends a message to their peers, teachers and local community about the impact of mental illness on people who experience mental health issues, their families, friends and the broader community.
“You are sending a message of support to people who are struggling with mental ill health in our community,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“As part of Mental Health Week, students from Victorian schools are invited to participate in a poetry, essay and creative writing competition exploring the subject of mental health.
“The themes that have emerged through the writing competition reflect what many people in our community, especially young people, are experiencing. Students wrote about bullying, eating disorders, self harming and suicide. These topics are often hard to talk about.
“As well as the writing competition, the organisers of Mental Health Week, the Mental Health Foundation of Australia (Victoria), holds an artwork competition open to all Victorian mental health consumers, with the winning artwork featured on the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Week poster,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“The winner of the art competition this year is Mr Matthew Farrell-Cough with his artwork entitled Free Dreams.
“As a community we’ve become better at recognising, treating and supporting those who experience mental illness. We are also better at making sure people who have a mental illness know they are not alone and that there are services to help them and their families.
“Important events like Mental Health Week allow us to spread the word and to continue the dialogue about mental illness, particularly with the valuable input of young people,” Ms Wooldridge said.
For more information about Mental Health Week, visit www.mentalhealthvic.org.au