Sydneysiders will have a chance to get a ‘check-up from the neck-up’ tomorrow (Thursday 20 October) as part of wellbeing activities being held to mark Mental Health Month.
The Mental Health Commission of NSW will offer free mental wellbeing checks from 8am to 7pm to passers-by in Sydney’s Martin Place. Participants will undertake a short mental wellbeing survey and have the opportunity to discuss their results with a qualified professional.
The initiative has been inspired by a successful program run in the City of Philadelphia, USA, which has screened over 17,000 people in the past three years1. Organisers in Philadelphia found the initiative reached many people who would not seek out traditional health services, or who wanted information to assist loved ones.
The Sydney ‘check-up’ aims to help people become more comfortable with seeking support when they need it. Presently only one-third of people with mental illness access any treatment2, compared to about two-thirds of people who have a physical disorder.
“We all move up and down the mental wellbeing continuum over the course of our lives, regardless of whether we have a mental illness or not,” said NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley.
“This initiative aims to give participants feedback on their mental wellbeing, as well as tools and resources to help them stay positive and resilient.
“When we invest in our wellbeing, we not only improve our experience of life but also build our capacity to cope in times of adversity.”
Clinicians from North Sydney, Sydney and South Eastern Sydney Local Health Districts and multilingual professionals from Transcultural Mental Health Centre will be conducting the check-ups.
“We’re particularly pleased that as well as clinicians, we will have peer workers from Flourish Australia on hand at the event. These are professionals who have a lived experience of mental illness and a unique insight into mental health issues,” Mr Feneley said.
An additional attraction for the morning crowd will be the presence of therapy dogs from Uniting Care. On site from 10am to 12pm, these specially-trained dogs are used to increase wellbeing in people recovering from mental illness.
Participants and passers-by can access wellbeing resources at bit.ly/chk-up
The event is being held as part of Mental Health Month, which runs from 1 – 31 October and is coordinated by WayAhead Mental Health Association NSW. For more information, see the Mental Health Month website.
What: Check-up from the neck-up: free mental wellbeing checks
Where: Martin Place (between Elizabeth and Phillip Sts), Sydney NSW 2000
When: Thursday 20 October 2016, 8am – 7pm
Why: Mental Health Month 2016
NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley is available for interviews.
Erin O’Loughlin, Mental Health Commission of NSW
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | P: 02 9859 5237 | M: 0477 763 909
About the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales
The Mental Health Commission of NSW was established under the Mental Health Commission Act 2012 and came into operation on 1 July 2012. The Commission is an independent statutory authority established with the purpose of monitoring, reviewing and improving the mental health system and the mental health and wellbeing of the people of NSW. In all its work the Commission aims to reflect the experience of people who live with mental illness, their families and carers.
1 Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), City of Philadelphia, Highlights & Impact
2 Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007