ECHUCA-MOAMA residents are being encouraged to nominate someone who is making a difference in promoting mental health or preventing and treating mental illness for the Australian Mental Health Prize 2017.
Nominations have been extended until Friday to accommodate a rush of final applications.
Australian Mental Health Prize Advisory Group chair Ita Buttrose said the prize was introduced to help reduce the stigma around mental illness and to recognise that Australia was leading the way in many groundbreaking initiatives that encouraged positive mental health.
‘‘Australia has produced some astoundingly effective mental health promotion campaigns and programs and recognising this work will help to maintain the momentum in this area and keep mental health on the national agenda. If we want to shake the stigma around mental illness then we must keep talking about it and sharing what works,’’ she said.
One in three Australians will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for the deaths of more young people than car accidents.
Ms Buttrose believes the prize will help improve mental health care in Australia.
‘‘The number of people with mental illness accessing treatment is half that of people with physical disorders, mainly due to stigma and lack of awareness of treatment options. We urgently need to turn this around so that people feel comfortable seeking help. Access to treatment and early intervention can make a huge difference and save lives,’’ she said.
To enter, nominees must provide a CV and 200 words outlining the work being undertaken and how it is making an impact.
Nomination forms can be obtained from http://australianmentalhealthprize.org.au/
Six finalists will be chosen, with the winner announced in November.