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Forum highlights need for more information on mental health – and where to get help

There is still a big need for more information about mental health itself as well as where to find help.

A local politician who has just organised a third community forum on this important issue in three years says its success highlights the importance of continuing the conversation around mental health.

“The overwhelming response to my latest mental health forum clearly shows there is a genuine community need for information and how to connect with local services, whether it be for someone with lived experience, carers, friends or family,’’ says the State Member for Macquarie Fields, Anoulack Chanthivong.

Around 170 people attended the Mental Health Matters forum at the Greg Percival Community Centre in Ingleburn last Wednesday, run in partnership with local mental health advocate Cheryl Paradella of Beautiful Minds.

The forum featured a number of guest speakers, including Dr Aliza Werner-Seidler from the Black Dog Institute plus representatives from headspace Campbelltown and the South Western Sydney Primary Health Network.

“This was my third community mental health forum, and each year the level of interest continues to grow,’’ Mr Chanthivong said afterwards.

“We have certainly made progress when it comes to talking about mental health, but our journey continues to ensure people in our community receive the level of care they deserve.

“The more conversations we have on mental health, the more barriers we can break down and provide much needed support,” Mr Chanthivong said.

A conversation we have to have: Anoulack Chanthivong with the team from Black Dog Institute at the 2019 Community Mental Health Forum in Ingleburn.  

One in 20 Australians are affected by depression each year and the World Health Organisation estimates that depression will be the number one health concern by 2030.

 Mr Chanthivong has long advocated for greater mental health awareness and services.

His previous forums have included: Young People and Anxiety (2017); and Body Image and Eating Disorders (2018).

“I would like to thank everyone involved in making the 2019 forum a huge success, and also thank everyone who came along on their night to learn more about depression or share their own personal experiences,’’ he said.

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