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Mental health is a global issue. More than 350 million people across the world – of all ages and from all communities – suffer from depression. Last week we delved into Canada’s initiatives to bring the importance of mental health to the forefront. This week we are focusing on Australia, a country that has been garnering public attention and press for their mental health causes.

Between governmental efforts to form a better mental health care system, corporate efforts to promote a mentally well workforce, and community efforts to improve mental health on a more local level, Australia is paving the way for improved mental health for its citizens.

Over the last decade and a half, Australia’s government has developed a number of national mental health plans to meet the growing needs of its nation. Since the initial implementation in 1993, the National Mental Health Strategy has led to significant outcomes, including a larger mental health workforce (the number of professionals who work specialist mental health settings grew by 51% between 1993 and 2007), the addition of peer workers, and they have seen the number of individuals with mental illness who saw a mental health professional almost double between 1997 and 2007.

Outside the Government sector and in the corporate one, mental wellness is also a topic of high importance. According to a 2015 Workplace Health Report by private Australian health insurance company, Bupa, Australian organizations are investing more in their employees’ health and wellbeing. An increasing number of corporations are investing in resources to support and promote healthier workforces both physically and mentally.

And on a more communal, local level, mental wellness is blossoming in a different form. Following the death of a beloved local friend, a new men’s group came together with the motive to improve their mental health through practical and worthwhile projects. This group, Louth Men’s Shed, sparked a trend, earning substantial grant money and being the first of many to pop up in Australia and the UK. Men participating in this group have found it to be a benefit for both their physical and mental health, and have found contentment in the companionship it has formed.

Mental wellness is being recognized on a governmental, corporate, and social level in Australia. The positive impacts of all these efforts are innumerable, creating a more mental wellness oriented environment, a movement spreading country to country.  Australia is realizing that they need to invest in their greatest assets, their people, and it is clearly an investment that is paying off.

References
Howard, E. (2014, October 7). ‘If I didn’t come to the shed, I’d be alone, watching TV’. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/07/mens-sheds-movement-isolation-loneliness-mental-health
Progress of mental health system reform in Australia. (2009). Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/mental-pubs-f-plan09-toc~mental-pubs-f-plan09-con~mental-pubs-f-plan09-con-pro
Taylor, C. (2015, June 25). Australian employers racing to develop top healthcare initiatives. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.hcamag.com/hr-news/australian-employers-racing-to-develop-top-healthcare-initiatives-201987.aspx
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