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    A message to our friends and colleagues at Mental Health America, and to all the other US charities and not-for-profits working in mental health. A message to the considered, passionate and grieving children who are planning to march on Washington next month.

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    At its heart, ‘advocacy’ is the public support for… or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. The word itself, has Latin origins meaning ‘one called to aid’ and interestingly was once referred to as ‘advocare’.

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    This week we celebrated Safer Internet Day - #SID2018 – a global initiative in more than 130 countries championed by the Office of the eSaftey Commissioner. An initiative which highlights that our Government and our community are taking this matter seriously, are listening to the experts, and are acting.

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    February is the month where Reality TV gets real… but is it really hurting us? Television networks spend January pumping up, and pumping advertising dollars into their latest production, and news publications are increasingly happy to oblige, providing ongoing commentary as ‘click bait’. On and off screen they all stir the pot for a viewing and online audience apparently wanting more and more of a genre where it’s well known that ‘hate rates’.

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    Whether it’s a Chinese proverb, Italian adage or North American saying, I’m sure we’re all familiar with the wisdom: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

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    Christmas is a time to reflect. At the end of what seems to have been a very long year, I am proud of many of Mental Health Australia’s achievements. I continue to believe our very small but very hard working team punches well above its weight in the national debate, and a brief look at some of those achievements tells the story of 2017.’

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    Yesterday we saw a memorable moment at Parliament House. The historic vision of almost all Members of the House of Representatives gathered on the same side of the House to demonstrate support for new law to establish marriage equality.’

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    At the Mental Health Australia Members Policy Forum in Canberra this week, and our Chair Jennifer Westacott challenged the sector to unite behind a shared vision, and find practical, incremental ways to achieve that vision. Put succinctly and simply, Jennifer raised the question, ‘what are we doing on Monday to achieve our vision for mental health in Australia?’

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    This week I received another reminder of how lucky I am to doing the work that I do, alongside some truly inspirational people. Coming so closely after we gathered with sadness to mark the loss of our dear friend and colleague Jackie Crowe, it was good to gather again on Monday and celebrate the achievements of some of the inspirational people working to advance better mental health.

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    Now that the results are in, what will be the legacy of Australia’s marriage equality ‘postal survey’? I confess that when the results were announced I was a little underwhelmed. A 62% YES vote was at the lower end of my expectation, having paced a small friendly wager on the YES vote reaching 75%.

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