The NSW Mental Health Commission marked World Suicide Prevention Day by signing up to a new initiative that aims to help organisations communicate about mental health safely, respectfully and consistently.
NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey signed The National Communications Charter on 10 September. Developed by Everymind, the Charter contains principles and key messages that people can follow when talking or writing about mental health or suicide prevention.
The goal of the resource is to support people who care about mental health and suicide prevention to work together and use coordinated and consistent messages, and in that way, help maximise their efforts to improve Australians’ wellbeing.
“The Commission is pleased to endorse the National Communications Charter,” Ms Lourey said.
“Using the right words is important for how we understand ourselves and each other, and for reducing stigma and discrimination.
“By using respectful, person-centred, inclusive language in all forms of communication, we promote broader understandings of people’s experiences and opportunities for recovery.”
The Commission supports using language that captures people’s many different experiences of distress and recovery; different experiences of care, support and advocacy; and Aboriginal cultural understandings of social and emotional wellbeing.
The Commission also recognises that language about mental health issues is always evolving.
“We will keep working with people with lived experience of mental health issues, families and carers, and other stakeholders to identify the most inclusive language to use,” Ms Lourey said.
Others that have signed up to the National Communications Charter include the Australian Government Department of Health, the NSW Government, beyondblue, headspace, Lifeline, National LGBTI Health Alliance, Mental Health Australia and many more.
View the Charter