This week we acknowledge the unique and invaluable contributions of carers, support people, and their family members and loved ones.
National Carers Week celebrates the 2.65 million carers living and working across Australia. Mental Health Australia’s Report to the Nation highlighted the challenges carers often face in accessing support. Research showed the incredible social capital carers contribute, as well as the greater connections carers often have to informal supports.
I want to particularly pay tribute to those who care for family members, friends and community members experiencing mental health challenges, and the tenacious work of carers in advocating for mental health reform in Australia. At Mental Health Australia, we will continue striving for systems that recognise and support the needs of carers.
I also acknowledge the bold and determined advocacy of survivors of family, domestic and sexual violence who have driven a national conversation on addressing the deplorable rate of violence experienced by women and children in this country. This week, we saw a step forward with the Australian Government committing to implement a National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032.
Governments are to be commended on the ambitious vision of this plan, and the inter-jurisdictional and whole-of-government approach. As we know in the mental health sector however, the real work will be in the implementation. We are expecting detailed Action Plans and significant budget investments, and look forward to working with governments and communities to take up the call of survivors to action:
“It is time to transform our pain into action. There can be no more excuses – that it is too hard, we don’t know what to do, it’s too complex. It is everyone’s responsibility to end the perpetration of violence against women and children, and all victims of gendered violence” (Statement from Victim-Survivors in the National Plan)
The power of own voices drawing the attention of the nation – and our political leaders – to this issue has been phenomenal. Honouring and learning from people with lived experience will continue to be instrumental to successful implementation of the Plan.
This is also imperative in the mental health sector, where we have much further to go in embedding Lived Experience leadership across the ecosystem. We continue to call on the Australian Government to establish independent peak bodies by and for carers, and people with lived experience of mental ill-health, to drive this change.
Have a great weekend.