A partnership of government, businesses, philanthropists and community service providers called the Imagined Futures Alliance Against Depression*, is spear-heading a local public awareness campaign designed to reduce stigma for people experiencing depression and encourage people to reach out for support.
With COVID-19 now at our doorstep many people are feeling anxious and uncertain about the future but are unsure where, or if, they should seek help.
“We’ve seen a spike in mental health issues in our communities. At the same time, we know the earlier people reach out for support, the easier it is for them to find relief,” Imagined Futures Executive Officer Leigh Sinclair said.
However, stigma and lack of awareness of mental health issues, and confusion about what supports are available, can stop people from reaching out for help and accessing treatments.
“If our campaign can help prompt people who are struggling to reach out for help and, if necessary, access treatment, the evidence tells us we will reduce suicide in our community” she said.
The focus is on raising awareness about depression because it is one of most common mental health conditions in Australia and is a contributing factor in almost half of all suicide deaths.
“We want to convey that depression can affect anyone, at any age, but can also be treated with the proper support”.
AFL Dockers player Alex Pearce, an ambassador for the Alliance, knows this all too well.
“From my own experience of depression, after reaching out for help, I now have the tools in place to maintain my mental health.”
The Alliance has developed a Mental Health Support Resource of free or low-cost services for people of all ages living in the local government areas of Cockburn, Fremantle and Melville to accompany the campaign. The services, which range from crisis help to online, phone and face-to-face providers, can be used alone, or complement advice from GPs, and assist people who also might be on a waitlist to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.
The Alliance encourages everyone to get behind the campaign and is offering free campaign packs to businesses, services, clubs, workplaces, and community groups in the Cockburn, Fremantle, and Melville areas.
To receive your free campaign pack, email firstname.lastname@example.org call 08 6372 4873.
For more information about Imagined Futures AAD go to https://imaginedfutures.org.au/mental-health/alliance/