Guild calls for mental health transparency

Curtin University Student Guild wants the federal government to do more when it comes to mental health.

The demand comes after Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey’s announcement to partner with technology giant Apple and produce a documentary series focusing on mental health.

The documentary is set to be released in 2020 and has been in development for several months.

In a statement released by Kensington Palace, Harry expressed his hopes for the project.

“It is a huge responsibility to get this right as we bring you the facts, the science and the awareness of a subject that is so relevant during these times,” he said.

Screenshot from the ‘sussexroyal’ Instagram account

Curtin Student Guild secretary Christopher Hall said while the media could be a great source of harm for mental health, it could also be beneficial in raising awareness.

“It’s important for high profile people, whether that’s a celebrity or someone in parliament, to be open about their experiences and the things they want to change,” he said.

Youth and Parent Resource worker Margaret Patching said the documentary could open up important conversations in families.

“If families or people in the family watch a program like this together then it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to either be open and brave or for the person watching it with them to gently say ‘oh what do you think about it?’” she said.

“It’s not as confronting because you’re actually listening to someone else talk about it and then it may allow a person who’s struggling to open up and raise the conversation.”

The announcement of the documentary comes just one week after the federal government promised more than $700 million to youth mental health in the 2019-20 budget.

Ms Patching said there needed to be more follow up on whether or not the Government was following through on its promises.

“After working in homelessness, youth justice and mental health you see these big promises of ‘oh you know we’re going to give big money and we’re going to do this and we’re going to do that’ and you’re just thinking well, where did that happen?” she said.

“That’s what always seems to be lacking, you get the promises and look I’m sure the money really does go out there, but you never hear any follow up.”

Mr Hall said transparency from the government is key.

“The government should be more transparent and more open instead of just saying ‘yeah we’re putting X amount of money towards mental health,’” he said.

“Some people personally remain confidential with their mental health struggles, but as a nation we know that suicide levels are really really high and we have a great amount of displacement within communities so I think the government should be more transparent.”