At the beginning of the Federal Election, seven weeks ago, Mental Health policies were not on anyone’s agenda. Now, through persistence and perseverance, and the support of thousands of individuals, organisations, leading experts and key politicians, that has completely changed.
On Sunday the Coalition released their mental health policy meaning that every major party has now committed to investing further into the mental health system. It's a reminder that groups such as ours can and do make a difference. Some may say it’s a small win for this huge issue but we must enjoy the victories along the way.
Australians for Mental Health have fought hard to put mental health on the agenda. We’ve met with politicians and candidates from all sides of politics, from Perth to Sydney, from rural & remote to metropolitan. We’ve fought and it’s been done off the back of your support and most importantly the support of individuals living, supporting or caring for people with a mental illness.
While we now look forward with some optimism we are constantly reminded of how far we need to travel to get full care and services for all Australians.
It is an appropriate time to reflect on the facts creating this National Emergency. Each year there are estimated 9,000 premature deaths due to largely preventable physical illnesses among people with a mental illness. Suicide is increasing, with the annual toll now over 2,800, a 20% rise in the past decade.
As a result of these high numbers of suicides and premature deaths due to physical illness, there is a 14-year life expectancy gap between Australians with and without a mental disorder. This discrepancy is an unacceptable reality for too many Australians.
We may have won this fight to put mental health on the agenda but the war will be won in keeping it there.
This is what Australians for Mental Health will continue to fight for and without your on going support it would not be possible.
Please consider making a donation to keep Australians for Mental Health in this vital fight.
 Magarey J. Disease kills mental-health patients earlier: report. The Australian. 2014 Nov 24.
 Cavanagh J, Carson A, Sharpe M, Lawrie S. Psychological autopsy studies of suicide: a systematic review. Psychological Medicine. 2003 Apr;33(3):395-405.
 Lawrence D, Hancock K, Kisely S. The gap in life expectancy from preventable physical illness in psychiatric patients in Western Australia: retrospective analysis of population based registers. British Medical Journal. 2013;346(7909):f2539.1- f2539.14.