Vinnies Christmas spotlight on social fallout of mental illness

At this morning's Christmas Appeal launch, the St Vincent de Paul (NSW/ACT) will call on the community and governments to address the social consequences of mental illness, in light of the Society's recent submission to the Senate Inquiry Into Mental Health.

CLICK HEREOlympian swimmer John Konrads will share his experiences with mental illness at the launch, which will take place at 10.30 am at the Bondi Bathers' Surf Lifesaving Club in Sydney. Vinnies' Yvonne Burke will also share her story of caring for a son with a mental illness.

A statement from the Society says that three out of four of the its members and volunteers involved in home visitation report frequent contact with people they believe have mental illness or challenging behaviours.

"Our budget counselling services, nation wide stores, residential aged care and migrant and refugee services are also regularly accessed by people appearing to have mental health problems."

The St Vincent de Paul Society's key concern with the deficiencies in the current mental health system is the total isolation felt by people with a mental illness. The current system centres on the philosophy that mental illness is a medical issue rather than a people or social issue.

The Society has made a number of recommendations in its submission to the Senate Inquiry Into Mental Health, including; Increase funding for social/recreational and friendship programs.

"The launch will focus on the social consequences of mental illness and the barrier this often creates in maintaining family and social connections," said State President John O'Neill. "It is timely to discuss this issue at Christmas as it is a time when people renew these connections. Social isolation becomes an even greater burden at Christmas, when family and friendship is celebrated."

The St Vincent de Paul Society's Christmas Appeal calls for donations of cash and clean, good quality clothes and toys. Donations will help the mentally ill, families in crisis, the homeless, the frail aged, youth and migrants and refugees. The toll free number for credit card donations is 13 18 12.

CathNews hopes to provide coverage of Christmas appeals being launched by branches of the Society in other states.

Vinnies highlights the social consequences of mental illness this Christmas (St Vincent de Paul Society 2/11/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Vincent de Paul Society | Extract from the St Vincent de Paul Society National Mental Health and Homelessness Advisory Committee's Submission to the Senate Inquiry Into Mental Health (St Vincent de Paul Society) | Text of Submission | Christmas Appeal 2005 - Fact Sheet (St Vincent de Paul Society)

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3 Nov 2005