People Pledge to Support Mental Health Recovery, and Demystify and De-stigmatise Experiences

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Increasing awareness and understanding that a mental health diagnosis is not a dead end is half the battle in creating a happier and healthier community. This is the message of hope that Richmond Fellowship of WA, a leading mental health service provider, wants the community to take on board with its http://www.rfwa.org.au/pledge website.

Richmond Fellowship of Western Australia (RFWA) is using this year’s Mental Health Week to encourage anyone who has experienced mental health problems, or their family and friends, to pledge support and spread the word that People Can and Do Recover.

The organisation is collecting pledges and comments on a dedicated web page http://www.rfwa.org.au/pledge, and asking people to speak out about their beliefs and experiences.

RFWA CEO, Joe Calleja, says positive attitudes towards mental health have come a long way in just a few years but we need to maintain the momentum.

“Many high profile people have spoken out about mental health problems in the last few years, which has contributed greatly to increasing support in response to mental health problems,” he said.

“We now know that everyone, even those with the most distressing mental health experiences, can take steps towards living a fulfilling life. Unlike the theories and practices of the past, we know that Recovery is possible, but requires widespread community support.”

While relatively new to Australia, the Recovery approach is being adopted by more and more mental health professionals as a preferred way of supporting people experiencing mental distress.

The Recovery approach is a person-centred and individualised process that focuses on the whole person and not just the challenges of one given period.

The ‘People Can and Do Recover’ Pledge Campaign aims to elevate the issues pertaining to mental health in Australia. It is an online initiative whereby people can add their name, and/or a comment and be counted as an advocate to demystify and de-stigmatise mental illness in our community.

“Quite simply, the Pledge campaign encourages people to stand up and say mental health is everyone’s business and Recovery is possible if we, as a society, are supportive and accepting,” Mr Calleja said.

“People are also encouraged to circulate information of their pledge to friends and family and, hopefully, we will start to see a wave of support for a concept that is long overdue. It’s about spreading the word that a positive outcome is possible.”

To learn more, or pledge your support, visit http://www.rfwa.org.au. RFWA is looking to reach 1000 pledges by the end of this year.

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Amanda Fay
AFAY Communications
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