What is the Australian Mental Health Prize?
The Australian Mental Health Prize was established in 2016 by UNSW Medicine and Health through its School of Psychiatry, Australia’s pre-eminent psychiatric research department. It recognises Australians who have made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health, or the prevention and treatment of mental illness.
The importance of mental health in Australia
Mental illnesses are common and highly disabling. In any one year, one in five adult Australians and one in seven children aged 4 to 17 will experience some form of mental illness. One in three will have a mental illness in their lifetime.
- Mental illness impacts severely on our capacity to work, to earn a living, and maintain close relationships.
- The average lifespan of people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is shortened by 10-15 years.
- Suicide rates are still unacceptably high, with over 2,000 Australians taking their own life each year.
- Suicide is the most common cause of death in males under 45.
Why establish the Australian Mental Health Prize?
Australia has led the way internationally in many aspects of mental health, such as community awareness, public advocacy and innovative services. This includes innovative programs such as Beyond Blue, the Black Dog Institute, and headspace, the national network of youth mental health services. Our open public discourse involving politicians and high-profile individuals occurs in few other countries.
The Australian Mental Health Prize’s aims
1. Acknowledge and recognise the important and ground-breaking work that many Australians are doing for mental health
2. Raise public awareness on the importance of mental health
3. Provide an incentive to improve services and outcomes for people with mental illness
Criteria for the Australian Mental Health Prize
The Prize is awarded annually to Australians who have made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health, or the prevention/treatment of mental illness – in areas such as advocacy, research or service provision. The prize will recognise contributions undertaken in Australia which are of national significance.
In 2022, the Prize has expanded to accept nominations in four categories:
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander:
To recognise and celebrate outstanding Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mental health leadership at a national or community level.
To recognise and celebrate outstanding mental health leadership by someone with lived experience of mental health, either personally or as a supporter, at a national level.
To recognise and celebrate outstanding mental health leadership in the clinical, academic or professional sectors at a national level.
To recognise and celebrate outstanding mental health leadership at a State or community level.
Nominations for 2023 will open in June 2023.
Who is involved with the Prize?
The Prize has been established by a group of eminent Australians in partnership with UNSW Sydney.
The Prize Advisory Board comprises:
- Professor Patrick McGorry AO
- Professor Allan Fels AO
- Sophie Scott
- Greta Bradman
- Lucy Brogden AM
- Erandathie Jayakody
- Melinda Upton
- Jeremy Coggin
- UNSW Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty AO
- UNSW Professor Kimberlie Dean
- UNSW Scientia Professor Philip Mitchell AM
- UNSW Professor Valsamma Eapen
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries at all about the prize.