Seminar to break-down stigma of mental illness

19-Jun-2014

CDU Pharmacy lecturer Hana Morrissey holds mascot for mental health first aid, ALGEE the koala

CDU Pharmacy lecturer Hana Morrissey holds mascot for mental health first aid, ALGEE the koala


It’s an alarming statistic and one that is rarely talked about, but the truth is that more people suffer from mental health problems than heart disease in Australia each year.

A public seminar series entitled “Demystifying Mental Illness” to be held on Sunday, June 29 aims to remove the stigma associated with mental health and better inform the community about the issue.

The event will include mental health speakers from Charles Darwin University, local organisations and other mental health Australian leading organisations, to provide information about the help available and how people can assist those living with metal health.

CDU senior lecturer in Pharmacy and event co-ordinator Hana Morrissey said that while many people knew how to deal with a physical health emergency, they may not understand how to deal with a mental health related incident or know about the help services available.

“In any year, one in six people will have a stroke, but one in five will suffer from a mental illness,” Ms Morrissey said.

“Treatment of mental illness has moved from ‘institutions’ to ‘care within the community’. We hope to promote a better understanding within the community about how they can help themselves or someone they know who may be suffering from mental illness.”

As a Mental Health First Aid instructor, Ms Morrissey said one of the biggest obstacles for those living in the community with a mental illness was the stigma associated with the illness.

“This event will aim to demystify mental health, talking broadly about common illnesses and its prevalence in the community, how it affects people and how people can become involved by learning how to deal with someone suffering mental illness,” she said.

Ms Morrissey said that the population in Darwin was unique due to its transient nature and mixture of cultures.

“We have a high proportion of migrants who may have been through the detentions centre process, a high Indigenous population, a high population of transient military personnel, mining workers and tourists that often stay longer than a year,” she said. “This means there are also a variety of ways mental health is viewed and dealt with within the community.

“It is vital that the community come together to hear about this important issue that could be affecting themselves or someone close to them.”

The event is free and will feature mental health experts, a panel of mental health organisations and information stands. It will be held on Sunday, June 29 from 10am to 2pm at the Mal Nairn Auditorium, CDU Casuarina campus. For more information or to register email: hana.morrissey@cdu.edu.au

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