The Hon. Julia Gillard AC
Provided the following speech, read by Associate Prof. Roger Gurr, Chair of TheMHS Awards at TheMHS Summer Forum on Friday 23 February 2018.
"I am delighted to serve as Ambassador for The Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand for 2018. I regret I cannot be with you for this very important event, at which a spotlight will shine on the achievements in this complex and vital field of mental health.
It is a privilege for me to be involved in highlighting outstanding contributions from individuals and organisations across the sector.
As many of you may know, my father worked as a psychiatric nurse in Adelaide, a job he thoroughly enjoyed. This personal link, as well as my current role as Chair of beyondblue, means I fully understand why rewarding excellence, best practice and innovation in mental health is so very important, particularly now.
The awards, operated by the MHS Learning Network, are now in their 27th year. Over that time, they have rewarded 500 entrants from 3000 applicants across Australia and New Zealand, showcasing the passion and dedication of people working in mental health and the great things they are achieving.
There are 16 awards across four categories: programs and services; research and evaluation; media journalism; and exceptional contribution by an individual.
The depth and breadth of understanding of mental health issues has developed rapidly in recent decades – but there is more to do. There is more to do in supporting those at risk of suicide – the tragedy of around eight Australians who take their own lives every day is still with us. There is more to do in educating our next generation about positive mental health – equipping them with the skills they need to handle life’s ups and downs. And there is more to do to fight the stigma and discrimination that persists around mental ill-health.
beyondblue is collaborating across the sector to address many of these issues. Conferences and education play an important role in shaping a better future, too. The Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand contribute to this vital cause by acknowledging the talent, dedication and commitment of people working in the sector.
To everyone gathered, thanks for caring and making a difference.
To all the award winners out there – I look forward to seeing you at TheMHS Conference in Adelaide in August."
The 2018 TheMHS Awards of Australia and New Zealand will be presented at the 2018 TheMHS Conference at the Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia.
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