Professor Allan Fels AO is chair of the National Mental Health Commission. He believes this week is an important one in the life of Australia.
A long term advocate of mental health policy and carer, Allan says Mental Health Week is “an opportunity to celebrate the lives of millions of persons in Australia who have mental health challenges”.
It is also an important time to acknowledge the contribution of carers, families and friends as well as providers of mental health services, “while recognising that a number of people with mental illness are lonely and don’t have that support, and that we should be doing things to try to make up for that deficiency.”
He says Mental Health Week also enables the community and NMHC commissioners especially, to renew their dedication “to see that every person who experiences mental illness can lead what we call a contributing life; that is their own life is as fulfilling as could be.
“That they have friends, families, connections. That they lead a life based on good health and good healthcare, as a whole, that they have somewhere to live that is safe and secure.
“That they have something to do every day, whether it be a job or some kind of activity and that as far as possible, they can merge into a community which does not have discrimination or apply stigma to them in any fashion.”