In the lead up to the next federal election, the Australian Mental Health Party wishes to take a moment to reflect on recent events.
Late last month, we acknowledged funding cuts from the federal government, to a program designed to provide safety to at-risk victims of domestic violence. While the discussion around domestic violence is often marred by contention over victim demographics, government supported authorities estimate that the cost of violence against women and children is over $20 billion each year. Our party takes this issue seriously and wants to see better protections put in place.
We have continued to raise the issue of needing better standards for mental health and well-being in Australian schools. Mission Australia’s recent national youth survey revealed that mental health is now the single biggest issue of concern for young Australians. We need to address this issue right now, with suicide remaining as the leading cause of death for young Australians. In our view, experiences at school should include better education about evidence-based ways to improve mental health, form healthy relationships with others, and to help young people in school learn how to identify and manage their emotions. Alongside a whole of curriculum approach to these issues, our party would like to see more availability of high-quality school counsellors, prevention and early intervention strategies for young people at risk, and policies designed to strengthen the connection between school-based and community-based support services.
While our party name puts ‘mental health’ first, the scope of our goals might go further than you think. We intend to show the Australian public that our vision spans every portfolio, by generating sensible solutions across the traditional core-of-government domains. To help people begin to see our vision, we have formed policy taskforces to address the areas of economy, health, defense and first responders, education, and immigration. Our position statements will be shared in the coming months, so stay tuned for more updates.
Finally, as we are a new party still building our base, one of our efforts towards this is working on a quiz night fundraiser in Perth early next year. Our social media activity has demonstrated to us that much of the public support our cause. We need that support to make a difference, and warmly invite our members and supporters to join us and provide support, hopefully by attending the quiz night if you can!
Callum is a valued committee member on the Joint Executive. Like countless other Australians, he sees the importance of mental health and the need for good policies. Our party believes that good mental health belongs to all of us and that if we hope to change society, then we need every Australian to connect with the issue in some way. If you would like to get involved and help us find better solutions, please contact us (at firstname.lastname@example.org). We would love to hear from you!