Thanks to everyone who came along to our forum on mental health and mental illness on Tuesday evening.
The Mental Health Matters event was the fourth in an annual series of public forums that PIAC organises with Sydney Grammar School to promote public discussion about public interest and social justice issues.
Moderated by journalist and medical doctor Lisa Pryor, the audience heard from Triple M and Gotcha4Life’s Gus Worland, child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Kristof Mikes-Liu & PIAC CEO Jonathon Hunyor.
In a wide-ranging conversation, the panel discussed how mental illness can arise, common causes and contributors and how families can address some of the more common mental health conditions that occur in adolescence.
Gus Worland discussed the particular challenges facing young men and boys, including unrealistic expectations around masculinity – leading to isolation and depression.
‘Suicide is the leading cause of death for young men between the ages of 15 and 44,’ Gus said.
‘All boys and men need to have someone who has their back, no matter what. If we encourage people to make sure they have someone they can share everything with I am convinced we will drop the suicide rate and really help with men’s and boy’s mental health and well-being,’ Gus said.
Dr Kristof Mikes-Lui also discussed the importance of family support and counselling in promoting mental health, particularly during the challenging teenage years, when children are making the transition to adulthood. ‘When you’re talking about the questions of life and the questions of being, you don’t exist as a lone universe,’ he said.
‘One in five Australians experience a mental health issue in any year and almost one in two will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime,’ said PIAC CEO Jonathon Hunyor.
‘Despite the prevalence of mental health conditions, the stigma around mental illness persists. This is something we are tackling in our mental health insurance discrimination work.
‘Mental health discrimination by the insurance industry demonstrates the stigma, misunderstanding and tendency to generalise that still exists when it comes to mental illness,’ Jonathon Hunyor said.
‘We are very grateful to Sydney Grammar School for their on-going support for our PIAC and for encouraging an open conversation about mental health and how we can better support young people and families.’