UNSW launches inaugural Australian Mental Health Prize

“As all clinicians know, one in five Australians will experience mental health issues in any given year, with sixty-five per cent of people not accessing treatment to support them with this lived experience” says UNSW Professor Philip Mitchell, Head of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) School of Psychiatry. “Mental illnesses are common and highly disabling, one in three of us will have a mental health issue in our lifetime.”

UNSW School of Psychiatry has established the Australian Mental Health Prize which will recognise Australians who have made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health, or the prevention and treatment of mental illness in areas such as advocacy, research or service provision.

The Prize will be launched by former Governor General, Dame Quentin Bryce on July 13 at the University’s Lowy Building. “For far too long we have failed to recognise the hard work, innovation and dedication of professionals and researchers in Mental Health,” says Quentin Bryce. “A Prize such as this is the least we can do to show our gratitude and respect for those working in this critical sector.”

Chairof the Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group, Ita Buttrose said:

It is unacceptable that suicide is the leading cause of death of 15-44 year olds. This must be seen as a national emergency.

She hopes:

the prestigious Prize will help reduce stigma and raise awareness of mental health and help improve care in Australia. There are some incredibly exciting and good things happening in the mental health area in Australia and the Prize, the first of its kind, will highlight the important work Australians are doing. For something that profoundly affects so many Australians and their families, we believe this recognition is incredibly important.

“Australia has led the way internationally in many aspects of mental health, such as community awareness, public advocacy and innovative services,” Professor Mitchell says. It’s time to acknowledge and raise the profile of the ground-breaking work that many Australians are doing.

“We call upon clinicians and health professionals as well as the public at large to nominate the people they feel should be recognised for their work,” Professor Mitchell said.

To enter nominees must provide a CV and 200 words outlining the work being undertaken and how it is making an impact. Nomination forms can be obtained from: http://australianmentalhealthprize.org.au/

Members of the Advisory Group will select, champion and enhance the prestige of the Prize through networks and the larger community. Entries close 31 August 2016. Six finalists will be chosen with the winner being announced on November 28.

Background

The Australian Mental Health Prize

The Australian Mental Health Prize has been established by the University of New South Wales through its School of Psychiatry, Australia’s pre-eminent psychiatric research department, and will recognise Australians who have made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health, or the prevention and treatment of mental illness in areas such as advocacy, research or service provision.

The importance of mental health in Australia

Mental illnesses are common and highly disabling. In any one year, one in five adult Australians, and one in seven children aged 4 to 17 will experience some form of mental illness. One in three of us will have a mental illness in our lifetime.

  • Mental illness impacts severely on our capacity to work, to earn a living, and to maintain close relationships.
  • The average lifespan of people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is shortened by 10-15 years.
  • Suicide rates are still unacceptably high, with over 2000 Australians taking their own life each year.
  • Suicide is the most common cause of death in males under 45.

Why establish the Australian Mental Health Prize?

Australia has led the way internationally in many aspects of mental health, such as community awareness, public advocacy and innovative services. Our open public discourse involving politicians and high profile individuals occurs in few other countries. Programs include beyondblue, the national depression initiative, and headspace, the national network of youth mental health services.

The Australian Mental Health Prize will:

Acknowledge and recognise the important and ground-breaking work that many Australians are doing for mental health.

Raise public awareness on the importance of mental health and

Provide an incentive to improve services and outcomes for people with mental illness.

What are the criteria for the Australian Mental Health Prize?

The Prize will be awarded annually to an Australian who has made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health, or the prevention/treatment of mental illness in areas such as advocacy, research or service provision. It will recognise contributions undertaken in Australia which are of national significance.

Who is involved with the Prize? The Prize has been established by a group of eminent Australians in partnership with the University of New South Wales. Chaired by Ita Buttrose AO OBE, the Prize Advisory Group comprises: UNSW Scientia Professor Philip Mitchell AM, Professor the Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Judy Brewer AO, Professor Allan Fels AO, Adam Gilchrist AM, Jack Heath, Professor Patrick McGorry AO, Ben Quilty, Jessica Rowe AM, Sophie Scott, UNSWScientia Professor Henry Brodaty AO, UNSW Professor Valsamma Eapen, UNSW Scientia Professor Perminder Sachdev AM.

Timeline: July 13: Launch of Prize and call for nominations (http://australianmentalhealthPrize.org.au );

August 31: Applications close

October 9-15: (Mental Health Week) Announcement of finalists

November 28: Award ceremony and announcement of winner (UNSW, Sydney).

Issued on behalf of the Australian Mental Health Prize, UNSW School of Psychiatry.

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Comments

  1. Harold Maio Harold Maio United States says:

    ----the prestigious Prize will help reduce stigma ??

    Your error is common: One does not lend credence to people who direct stigmas, one educates them, that they stop.

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