2016 Finalists 2017-06-30T05:43:01+00:00

The recipient of the inaugural Australian Mental Health Prize says more needs to be done to address the links between physical and mental healthcare.

Last night the award was presented to Australian College of Mental Health Nurses chief executive Kim Ryan by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The Canberra-based advocate, with more than 25 years’ experience in the mental health sector, was recognised for her promotion and support of mental health nursing.

Ms Ryan said she was “overwhelmed” by the win, and hoped to use the award to challenge the misconception that patients’ mental and physical conditions should be treated separately.

She said part of the answer was to ensure all nurses were “competent and confident” in dealing with all problems experienced by patients.

“A lot of people, they think it’s either physical health or it’s mental health,” she said.

“People that have coronary heart attacks, they have an increased rate by three per cent, of suicide within the [following] 12 months.

“So we actually need the nurses that are working in coronary care to understand that there are mental health implications associated with the work that they do.”

The prize was established by the University of New South Wales and a group of prominent Australians, headed up by media personality and businesswoman Ita Buttrose.

“Mental health nurses are often at the frontline when it comes to working with people who experience mental health issues in the community,” Ms Buttrose said.

“Kim’s work demonstrates the enormous difference that specially-trained mental health nurses can make in the recovery of people with mental illness.”

Prize boosts awareness of mental health

Ms Ryan said the prize increased much-needed attention for mental health work.

“We still have a lot to do to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, and I think having opportunities like this to showcase what people have done in the field also provides the community with better understanding,” she said.

“We have people who have … complicated mental health conditions that are dying 25 years earlier than the rest of the population.

“Unless we actually get people to understand the importance of the work that people in the field of mental health do, we’re not going to address the life expectancy gaps for those people.”

Article from ABC: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-08/first-mental-health-prize-winner-to-challenge-misconceptions/8101374


Finalists announced in first Australian Mental Health Prize

Media Release – 14th November 2016

An Indigenous former football star who runs a suicide prevention charity, a veteran- turned-author who crossed the Bass Strait in a tinnie, and a woman who developed the world’s first Mental Health First Aid program are just three of the seven finalists in the first Australian Mental Health Prize.

Launched earlier this year by Dame Quentin Bryce, the aim of the Australian Mental Health Prize is to recognise Australians who have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of mental health, or the prevention and treatment of mental illness, in areas such as advocacy, research or service provision.

Ita Buttrose, Chair of the Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group, said, “Mental illness is extremely common, with one in five Australians experiencing some form of mental illness in any given year. Nearly half of all Australians will experience mental illness during their lifetime. The aim of this Prize is to help reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness, and raise awareness of some of the ground-breaking and life-changing work that is going on in Australia in relation to mental health.”

Selected from an impressive field of more than 130 submissions from across the country, the seven finalists come from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, and are involved in a wide variety of projects and programs.

“We were incredibly impressed by the calibre of submissions, especially as this is the very first year of the Prize,” said Scientia Professor Phillip Mitchell, Head of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) School of Psychiatry. “Australia is a world- leader in many aspects of mental health, including raising community awareness, public advocacy and the provision of innovative services, so it is heartening to see some of this work, and the people who are undertaking it, get this well-deserved recognition. We had nominations for mental health nurses, people living with mental illness, community advocates, researchers, people on the frontline delivering mental health services, right up to senior executives from some of our most well-known mental health organisations.”

“The UNSW School of Psychiatry is very proud to be involved in this prestigious Prize,” said Henry Brodaty, Scientia Professor of Ageing and Mental Health at UNSW. “It is our hope that this Prize will help to raise awareness of some of the incredible work being done around Australia in the field of mental health, and provide an incentive to organisations to continually improve services and outcomes for people living with mental illness.”

The seven finalists are being recognised for their work across a number of different areas, including suicide prevention, youth mental health, mental health first aid and mental health nursing.

The winner of the Australian Mental Health Prize will be announced at the formal award ceremony event at UNSW on 7 December 2016.

About the Australian Mental Health Prize 2016 Finalists

Annette Baker (Albury, NSW)

Annette established The Winter Solstice in her hometown of Albury, NSW, an event that gives recognition to the many people dealing with suicide and their complicated grief. It encourages conversations about shared lived experiences, providing greater opportunities for healing. Annette lost her daughter Mary to suicide when she was 15.

Betty Kitchener (Melbourne, VIC)

Betty founded the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, the first of its kind in the world. Designed to give members of the public hands-on training in how to assist someone during a mental health crisis or episode, the MHFA program has a strong evidence base and has now been rolled out to over 20 countries with 1.7 million people trained globally.

Ian Hickie (Sydney, NSW)

Ian is a major force in Australian mental health, the founding CEO of beyondblue, a key advisor to Federal Governments, a current member of the National Mental Health Commission and a strong public voice for improved mental health services. An internationally-renowned researcher in depression, early intervention and youth mental health, he was instrumental in the creation of headspace and the Young & Well CRC delivering unique services and new on-line technologies to young people.

James Prascevic (Geelong, VIC)

James is a former soldier in the Australian Defence Force, having served in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq from 2002-2011. After being discharged from the Army, James developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, and began to self- medicate with alcohol. He has since written a book, ‘The Returned Soldier’, based on the diaries he kept, detailing his symptoms, treatment, and ongoing battle with mental illness. He is a staunch advocate for mental health, and has crossed the Bass Strait in a ‘tinnie’ to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute. James will soon be a qualified yachtsman skipper and is currently planning to teach ex-soldiers suffering from a mental illness to sail in a controlled environment on his boat. He hopes to give them a chance to feel what he feels on the water– 110% mentally and physically well.

Joe Williams (Dubbo, NSW)

Joe Williams is a Wiradjuri man, former NRL player and professional boxer who runs his own suicide prevention organisation and charity ‘The Enemy Within’ (TEW). Joe travels around Australia speaking at schools, sporting clubs, workplaces, organisations and remote communities, where he delivers workshops about suicide prevention and how to maintain positive mental health and wellness. He is an advocate and leader in suicide education, prevention and support for all people, but has particular care for First Nations Australians, who are six times more likely than the non-Indigenous population to suicide. Joe fought his own battles with mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction, and survived a suicide attempt in 2012. From that time, he turned his life around and became committed to helping his all people understand and work towards optimal mental health and wellness.

John Mendoza (Caloundra, QLD)

John is a mental health and suicide prevention advocate, policy analyst and researcher committed to sector reform and reducing the rate of suicide in Australia. He has worked in alcohol and drug and mental health for nearly 35 years. John lost a nephew to suicide in 2014 and uses his knowledge as a former senior public servant and his personal experiences to educate the community about the issues associated with mental illness and suicide. John is a former CEO of the Australian Sports Drug Agency, former CEO of Mental Health Council of Australia and former chair of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health to the Federal Government.

Kim Ryan (Canberra, ACT)

Kim is the CEO of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN); a passionate advocate for mental health and for the profession of mental health nursing. Kim believes nurses and midwives have the capacity to improve the mental health of the community and, in particular, that health outcomes for people who experience mental health conditions are substantially improved when a mental health nurse is involved. Kim has worked tireless nationally and internationally through nursing and other mental health organisations to advocate for better mental health care for all. Kim was instrumental in establishing the collaborative Mental Health Professionals Association (MHPA) with the RACGP, the APS, the ACMHN and the RANZCP, and chaired the association to undertake a landmark $15 million project focusing on professional collaboration to improve mental health care.

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About the 2016 Australian Mental Health Prize

The Australian Mental Health Prize has been inaugurated by the University of New South Wales through its School of Psychiatry, Australia’s pre-eminent psychiatric research department, and will recognise Australians who have made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health, or the prevention/treatment of mental illness.

Who is involved with the Prize?

The Prize has been established by a group of eminent Australians in partnership with the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Chaired by Ita Buttrose AO OBE, the Prize Advisory Group comprises UNSW Scientia Professor Philip Mitchell AM, Professor the Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, Judy Brewer AO, Professor Allan Fels AO, Adam Gilchrist AM, Jack Heath, Professor Patrick McGorry AO, Ben Quilty, Jessica Rowe AM, Sophie Scott, UNSW Scientia Professor Henry Brodaty AO, UNSW Professor Valsamma Eapen, UNSW Scientia Professor Perminder Sachdev AM.

What are the criteria for the Australian Mental Health Prize?

The Prize will be awarded annually to an Australian who has 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. It will recognise contributions undertaken in Australia that are of national significance.

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 beyondblue, the national depression initiative, 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 will:

  • Acknowledge and recognise the important and ground-breaking work that many Australians are doing for mental health

  • Raise public awareness on the importance of mental health and

  • Provide an incentive to improve services and outcomes for people with mental illness.Mental Health in Australia

  • Mental illnesses are common and can be 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 of Australians will have a mental illness in their lifetime.

  • Mental illness impacts severely on a person’s capacity to work, to earn a living, and to 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 unacceptably high, with more than 3000 Australians taking their own life each year.

  • Suicide is the most common cause of death in men under 45.

  • The most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorders.

  • Of the 20% of Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder and 8.5% have two or more disorders. Almost half (45%) Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

    Distributed by Lanham PR on behalf of UNSW and the Prize Advisory Group

    Media contact: Fleur Townley | fleur@lanhampr.com.au | 0405 278 758 www.lanhampr.com.au