Media release – Wednesday 4 October

Mental Health Week: Believe in change

During Mental Health Week 2017 (8-14 October), the Australian Psychological Society (APS) is asking Australians to Believe in change.

As part of the campaign a number of leading Australians – including former Olympic swimmer Libby Trickett – will be talking about their experience of challenges including mental health issues, and how psychologists have helped them survive and ultimately thrive.

It is estimated that only 45% of people with a mental health problem seek professional help.

“It’s great that more and more we can have this conversation and be open about mental health issues,” says Trickett. “Throughout my life and career I have sought assistance from psychologists to help me achieve peak performance and also deal with challenges.”

“It is common to feel stuck but psychologists can help you make change.  The first step is to believe in change,” she says.

APS Executive Director Professor Lyn Littlefield said, “We can now have public discussions about mental health. But that’s not enough, we need to encourage people to seek professional help and an important part of that is demonstrating how those conditions can be managed and overcome.

“People do get better and often thrive but the right professional support is critical,” she added.

Key facts:

  • One in five Australians experience mental illness each year, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the national health statistics agency. This represents more than 3.2 million Australians aged 16-85.
  • The most common disorders are anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
  • The World Health Organization says that depression is the leading cause of disability globally.
  • Mental illness is most common among the young in Australia. Twenty-six (26) per cent of those aged 18-24 have experienced mental health issues.
  • Fewer than half of those affected seek treatment for these common mental illnesses. 

For more details about the campaign go to believeinchange.com.

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Libby Trickett will be joined by Fablice Manirakiza, Leanne Faulkner and Daryl Elliott Green at a free Mental Health Week event in Melbourne – Why I believe in change - on Sunday 8 October, at 4pm, at The Cube, ACMI, Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne.

For media inquiries, contact on 0435 896 444 or Karen Coghlan on 0411 390 512.