October is Mental Health Month – an opportunity for Melbourne workplaces and community groups to to raise awareness of  the importance of social and emotional wellbeing.

Events and activities across Victoria are aimed at opening up conversations about anxiety and depression to help reduce stigma and empower people to seek help, for themselves or others.

Member for Northern Metropolitan Region, Jenny Mikakos MP is encouraging the community to start talking; whether it’s organising an event or activity big or small, or simply initiating a conversation or sharing a message of hope with someone who is struggling.

While community awareness of anxiety and depression has grown over the past years, stigma associated with mental illness remains high and as a result, many people are too embarrassed or ashamed to seek help and don’t get the treatment they need.

Twenty per cent of all Victorians – almost 1.3 million people – will this year experience mental illness. Over a lifetime, one in two Victorians will experience mental illness.

10 October observes World Mental Health Day focusing on suicide prevention, Health and Safety Month to encourage all workplaces to make psychological safety at work just as important as physical safety, and Mental Health Week from which runs from 5-11 October.

The Andrews Labor Government has built on last year’s record mental health investment, allocating a further $172.8 million to ensure Victorians get better treatment and care, closer to home.

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System is investigating ways to effectively prevent and respond to mental illness, to promote timely access to high-quality and safe treatment and create strong links between mental health and other services. An interim report is expected next month.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

The Mental Health Foundation Australia calendar can be found here:

Quote attributable to Member for Northern Metropolitan Region, Jenny Mikakos MP

“Mental Health Month builds on our collective efforts here in Melbourne to create a community where stigma and discrimination are no longer a barrier to people seeking support.”