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About Us

Mental Health...

Australia is slowly addressing the mental health needs of its citizens. Over the past 20 years there has been the development of national directions to combat mental illness, the de-institutionalisation of those with a mental disorder and significant attempts to de-stigmatise mental illness. All people, along with community agencies and our social institutions, must come to see that those with mental health problems are part and parcel of our community and need to be treated with support and understanding. Given that one in four Australians will experience at least one mental health problem in their lifetime, the cause is not for alarm but improved understanding and support.

Our understanding...

Our understanding of mental health problems has shifted from mental illness to what it is that makes us mentally strong and capable of coping successfully.  Resilience theory is an increasing body of knowledge built around certain risks we experience whilst growing up and living in communities, and how certain factors, known as protective factors, appear to either cancel out those risks or at least provide a form of compensation that allows people to cope.

Early intervention...

Alongside this development has been our increased awareness that intervening earlier in the lives of people will not only avoid mental illness but also will allow earlier identification of, and intervention in, any developing problems. 

MindMatters & KidsMatter

Nationally the Australian Government has provided leadership in two consortium programs: the exposure of all Australian schools to MindMatters aimed at high school students and the current pilot program, KidsMatter, for a small number of primary schools.

Prevelence

  • One in seven Australian children has a mental health problem
  • Only one in four of these children receive support
  • 35% of callers to the national Kids Helpline in 2006 were children aged 5-14 years
  • There is a 20 year gap between best clinical research and its use in the health and mental health care sectors
  • 85% of publications on resilience have been published during the past decade.

Resilience...

Knowledge, attitudes, experience and skills (capacities) that promote health and wellbeing under changing conditions

Risk factors

Characteristics that make it more likely that a particular person will develop a disorder

Protective factors

Characteristics that reduce the likelihood of mental health problems or mitigate the negative effects of risk factors

Why promote resilience

Mental health is much more than the absence of mental illness. It is the realisation of one’s potential, shaped by factors such as biological make-up, gender roles, family life, human relationships, work opportunities, educational achievements, and a variety of structural and socioeconomic determinants. At an individual level, it is also a sense of well-being and functioning unique to each person.

A continuous process

Promoting resilience in children is a not a single event but a continuous process that requires parents to be supportive and empathetic when things don’t go their way.