A Hunter business is calling on other businesses to do what they can to support organisations that are helping local people experiencing mental illness during Mental Health Week.
Fuel management company Banlaw said there are many organisations struggling to keep much needed mental health services operating.
Co-owner and group general manager Bill Clifton said Banlaw has been supporting the Hunter-based CommStrength Foundation for almost 15 years. CommStrength is a benevolent, not for profit institution that aims to prevent youth suicide in Newcastle and the Hunter. Banlaw provides about $6,000 a year in funding and also helps purchase equipment and provide other support when it can.
He said mental illness affects so many people in the community, directly and indirectly. Research shows that one in five Australians will experience a mental illness every year with depression and anxiety being the most prevalent. Yet, two thirds of people with a mental illness do not receive any treatment in any 12-month period.
“Businesses need to support mental health organisations because it is a community issue but also because it has impacts on business efficiency too,” Bill said.
“A mentally healthy community and workforce is a more productive one,” he said.
“Any little bit of support, whether it is funding or volunteering, can go a long way.”
“Supporting Commstrength gets our people talking about mental health, which helps raise awareness and reduce stigma.”
Father John (Macpherson), a priest-monk of the Orthodox Church, founded Commstrength and has dedicated himself to the needs of those at risk of suicide and other difficulties in development and establishment, as they find their place in life. CommStrength is non religio- specific and open to all without question of belief. It draws together specialists from caring and other professions to address the needs of people at risk of or who have attempted suicide. It helps around 150 people each year and endeavours to maintain ongoing interaction with them to offer constant support.
President of the CommStrength Foundation Committee Nathan Baker said CommStrength is holding a special dinner this month to recognise key business supporters, such as Banlaw, as its celebrates 20 years of service. He said the committee is also made up of volunteer business people.
“Without the support of Banlaw, other businesses and business people, Father John would not be able to carry out his often life-saving support,” Nathan said.