Media 2018-04-22T05:00:52+00:00



March 2018

Janet Meagher AM honoured as joint Recipient of the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize – Panorama Magazine

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 21st November 2017

Janet Meagher, a champion for the rights of people with mental health issues, and Professor Allan Fels, Chairman of the National Mental Health Commission, have been awarded the Australian Mental Health Prize.

Ms Meagher, who has been living with schizophrenia for almost 50 years, has dedicated her life to ensure a care and support system that is humane, responsive and respectful. Her advocacy focuses on hope for people living with mental illness, along with access to rehabilitation, recovery, reintegration and support services in all service frameworks.
“I think of the many thousands of Australians who struggle for the hope and resilience to live their lives while living with mental health issues. My award is dedicated to them,” Ms Meagher said.
“I hold a precious responsibility to represent people living with mental distress and to be a voice. It must always reflect the proper use of power, voice and status and respect the dignity of those we represent.”

Professor Fels has also had close experience of mental health issues. His daughter had a difficult childhood and at the age of 25, psychosis set in. She was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Understanding the needs of people with persistent and serious mental health issues, he helped to establish The Haven Foundation and its specialist accommodation in South Yarra, Melbourne, which helps provide long-term affordable accommodation, support and care for people living with severe and persistent mental illness. This is where his daughter currently lives.

“This is a great honour, although there are countless thousands of heroes working in this field and I don’t feel I’ve made a greater contribution than any of them,” Professor Fels said. “Looking ahead I see two giant challenges: the first is making mental illness a higher priority for the community and the second is greatly improving the way the present system operates.”

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Above: 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize Winners. Left: Ms Janet Meagher. Right: Professor Allan Fels

26th June, 2017

Launch of 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize

Greta Bradman turns spotlight on mental wellbeing of performers

Award-winning Australian soprano and mental health advocate, Greta Bradman, will launch the 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize on June 26, seeking nominations to recognise Australians who have made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health or the prevention and treatment of mental illness in areas such as advocacy, research or service.

Greta Bradman, who is a classical singer, radio broadcaster and provisional clinical psychologist, was recently appointed to the Prize Advisory Group.

“I am delighted to join the Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group and launch the call for nominations this year. I am very passionate about being part of the conversation around mental health for a number of reasons. I’ve experienced first-hand how debilitating mental illness can be and I understand personally and professionally that while it can take time to find a treatment plan to suit an individual, effective treatment is out there,” said Ms Bradman.

“I have witnessed the impact of mental health issues on people who work within the performing arts too, an area that until recently has received little to no attention from researchers, let alone tailored interventions or positive psychological tools for supporting good mental health.

“Unfortunately, Australian adults who work within the performing arts sector are twice as likely to attempt suicide and five to seven times more likely to consider suicide than the general population. There are much higher rates of sleep dysfunction, substance use and alcohol intake, greater lifetime mental illness and more symptoms of depression and anxiety too. There are also other areas of the community that are disproportionately represented with mental health problems, including emergency services workers.

“Australia has an opportunity to be a real leader in the area of mental health. There is so much important work underway and so much more to be done including further research, advocacy and service provision towards the treatment and prevention of mental illness, and also towards supporting and promoting positive mental health in the community and in the workplace. These might be community driven, online or grass roots.

“That is why the Australian Mental Health Prize is so important. I strongly encourage people to nominate those making a difference as recognition of people who contribute to the mental health of Australians is critical.”

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Above: 2017 Australian Mental Health Prize Promotion Video 

Below: 2017 Launch Photo Gallery




8th December 2016

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.

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

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.”

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14th November 2016

Finalists announced in first Australian Mental Health Prize

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.