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October is Mental Health Month in Australian Rotary

Did you know that almost one in five Australians (20%) will experience a mental illness this year, and nearly half of the population (45%) will experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives.  But, suffering from a mental illness does not mean you need to be placed in care or that others need to fear your behaviour.  From Alice's “Hatter” to the adventures of Don Quixote, our lives have crossed paths with those who are "sane madmen or wise fools” or just see life differently.   As the Cheshire Cat once said - “I'm not crazy, my reality is just different than yours.

However mental illnesses can affect many facets of your life and stop you performing at your best.  A recent study found that Australian businesses lose approximately $11 billion each year due to employees suffering mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Furthermore the number of suicides among our farmers, emergency services, police and defence personnel is at an all time high.

"Lift the Lid on Mental Illness" is a National mental health fundraising and awareness initiative of Australian Rotary Health. The initiative aims to raise funds for mental health research and ultimately improve the lives of all Australians.

At a Rotary "Lift the Lid Community Forum" held in Perth last September, keynote speaker Professor Michael Sawyer OAM, from the University of Adelaide, detailed how young children often face a difficult path in life. This can be due to a combination of genetic predisposition and home environment (issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence or entrenched poverty) and can impact on education and employment prospects for years to come.

This fact was highlighted by Rebecca Andrews, the Chaplain at Bribie Island State High School, who told us at a recent meeting about the number of students she sees on a daily basis who are struggling due to their home environments. She spoke about numerous cases of “cutting”, depression and suicide attempts.

The good news for people in Rebecca’s situation is that researchers at Australian Rotary Health are finding that early intervention can make a difference. If you would like to read more about the work being carried out see:

Our community can support the “Lift the Lid on Mental Illness” campaign by making a donation on Wednesday 10 October 2018 - World Mental Health Day.  Rotarians and the general public are encouraged to get involved and celebrate this day by holding an event and wearing an eye-catching hat.  Perhaps an afternoon tea – “It’s always Tea time” - as a wise man once said. 

So, “Island and Surrounds” readers - get a group together and do what the Rotary Club of Bribie Island, the Islander Quilters, the  U3A Classic Books class,  and the Bribie Island Orchestra do.  Wear an interesting hat and give a donation to help Lift the Lid on Mental Illness.

Members of Bribie Rotary doing their bit to Lift the Lid on Mental Illness 

100% of the money raised during this year's Hat Day campaign goes directly to research helping those 20% of all Australians affected by depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and many other mental illnesses.  Remember - “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” (AA Milne).  Our own lifestyle and work can add to the reasons behind some mental health issues.  Research has shown, for example, “Hatters” were indeed at risk because of the mercury (vapours) used in the hat making industry.  

Donations can be made to Australian Rotary Health or by direct deposit to:

Bank:  Bank of Queensland

A/c Name:  Rotary Club of Bribie Island 

BSB: 124-001

A/c: 20314486

Ref: Hat Day and your Name

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