The importance of Wollongong's mental health clubhouse was emphasised at the Novotel on Friday when it was revealed Australia is not only in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic.
Thrive Executive founder and managing director Jodi Bush said the nation is also facing a mental health epidemic.
Ms Bush said One Door Mental Health Clubhouse does fabulous work in the community not just by supporting people who are impacted by mental health but also in raising awareness. Particularly during such a challenging year with fires and COVID-19 having such a signficant impact on the community.
"I am very passionate about mental health. I don't think there is a more critical subject or topic for us to be talking about right now," she said.
"Statistically one in five of us is going to be diagnosed with a mental health issue this year. And in our lifetime one in four. We are really talking about an issue of epidemic proportions.
"And if those numbers aren't alarming enough, suicide is now the leading cause of death for men under 40 and for children under 17."
Ms Bush said mental illness does not discriminate.
"It is an issue that really crosses cultures, genders, ages and is something we all really need to be thinking about seriously".
Ms Bush said she has personally dad a very direct relationship with mental health. In 2013 her husband lost his battle with depression which had started at a very young age.
"That left me with my own challenges with anxiety and depression. So I am very aware of how deeply mental health touches our community," she said.
Ms Bush said after she lost her husband one thing she became very aware of was the limited support for family and friends afterwards.
She said the impact is huge and one thing she has been dedicating her time to is working with a new suicide prevention collaborative in the Illawarra.
"It is an amazing initiative down here bringing together all those touch points across the community that can assist people. We have been working to try and group together resources for people who have been impacted by suicide," she said.
"We have created an internet hub where we bring together all the links and information people might need. As you can imagine when you are in a high state of grief it is very difficult to navigate all those resources."
Ms Bush said the hub is keen to record the voices of those who have had such experiences to create a series of videos that can help other people.
And One Door has been helping make that production happen.
Ms Bush said sometimes it can feel like mental health is something remote to us but we all know someone who has been touched by it.
And she emphasised how important it is for each of us to try and take care of our own mental health and help those around us experiencing it by seek out resources that can help.
- One in 10 people bereaved by suicide end up suiciding themselves
- For every person who suicides six people are directly impacted
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44
Ms Bush said the Black Dog Institute is also a good source of information about resources and facts.
If you or someone you know needs help phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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