Hundreds of Novocastrians turned out today in solidarity with people living with a mental illness, their carers, and their families at the annual Mental Health Wellness Walk from Pacific Park to Civic Park.
In a speech at the event, Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said mental illness remained a pressing issue for the region.The Turnbull Government needs to prioritise investing in the health and wellbeing of Australian people over its $50 billion tax cuts for big business.”
“Newcastle can expect to have 30,000 residents experience a mental illness in the next 12 months with over 5,000 of them experiencing serious mental illnesses that require coordinated care,” Ms Claydon said.
“We also have rates of suicide and attempted that are above the state average in NSW, causing great impacts for families and communities.”
Ms Claydon said the event, which was run by Mental Health Carers ARAFMI Hunter, was designed to raise awareness and fight stigma facing people with mental illness.
“Stigma isolates people living with mental health issues and the people that love them,” Ms Claydon said.
“It prevents people from asking for the help they need. And it is one of the greatest barriers to recovery.”
Ms Claydon used the event to call on the Federal Government to do more.
“Funding cuts, delays on mental health reform and a lack of vision to adopt the National Mental Health Commission’s suicide prevention target has increased the pressure on families, carers and support services,” Ms Claydon said.
“I am also concerned that nothing has been done to find a solution for people living with a mental illness who are not eligible for the NDIS and won’t receive services from a Primary Health Network.