The week of May 11th was national Schizophrenia Awareness Week. Schizophrenia is one of the most stigmatised conditions in Australia and a much more common illness than many might think. There are around 230,000 Australians that have schizophrenia and millions of Australians are impacted by the condition. 60 per cent of people with schizophrenia experience negative and offensive attitudes from others towards them which I find very concerning.
As Shadow Minister for Health I had the opportunity during this week to thank and congratulate the many carers and families supporting people with mental health conditions. Each and every one of them does incredible and untiring work. The week also coincided with National Volunteers Week which gave me an extra reason to think about the unpaid support given in our community by so many, especially in the health and wellbeing field
Labor remains committed to ensuring better mental health services for all Tasmanians. Within our local community building awareness and understanding of mental health is vitally important. Currently it is estimated that 50 per cent of people with schizophrenia are not seeking appropriate treatment. There are many support services available for people affected by mental illness such as the MiNetworks program which offers a free phone service connecting people to local support services. MiNetworks can be accessed on 1800 985 944 and I encourage anyone experience mental illness or supporting someone to make contact.