There’s only a few days of September left to colour up your lips and start some conversations as part of the Liptember campaign to raise funds for, and awareness about, mental health.
Fundraisers are proactively raising funds and seeking sponsorship from family, friends and the general public by donning bright coloured lipstick for all or part of the month to initiate conversations about “what’s on your mind”.
Liptember’s managing director Luke Morris said funds raised during the campaign helped research, programs and services in Australia to support women and their mental health.
The campaign was established in 2010 with hopes of placing a gender lens on women’s mental health.
Mr Morris said the majority of mental health research and programs were based on men but also applied to women.
“By applying gender lens to mental health, we’re seeing much higher success rates with programs and increased accuracy around research,” he said.
Foundations supported by Liptember include the Jean Hailes Foundation, Centre for Women’s Mental Health, Lifeline, Batyr, the Pretty Foundation and the Collingwood Football Club’s Magpie Nest Program.
Jean Hailes’ Senior Project Coordinator Renea Camilleri said Liptember’s funding had helped important projects through partnering with key researchers to undertake important study on older women’s mental health.
The 2019 Household, Income and Labour Dynamic in Australia Survey reported a significant increase in diagnosed depression and anxiety among women between 2009 to 2017.
Statistics show an increase from 13 to 20 per cent in young women aged 15 to 34, women aged between 35 to 54 jumped from 13 to 19 per cent, while diagnoses of women over 55 increased from 12 to 17 per cent.
Curtin University Professor Karen Heslop said the increase of older women diagnosed with mental health problems may be due to financial insecurity as marriages breakdown, or as their children grow older, their role changes leaving them uncertain about how they can contribute.
Amid COVID-19, Mr Morris said they’ve had to adapt to a purely digital campaign with a conscious effort to provide more opportunities to connect online.
On social media, Liptember’s 10 Day Lipstick Challenge and #messageonamirror movement have seen women posting pictures of themselves during isolation with a pop of colour or empowering messages on a mirror written in lipstick.
Author of Beautiful Unique Faces Anita East said she would be donating 10 per cent of her book sale profits to Liptember hoping to increase open discussion around women’s mental health.
“In launching my book on the first of September, it was an ideal synchronicity with Liptember to increase the awareness of women’s mental health as it pertains to image and beauty,” she said.
Love Island winner Tayla Damir said she was humbled to be an ambassador for the campaign this year.
“It’s extremely important to normalise speaking about mental health. People need to know they aren’t alone,” she said.
Liptember’s diverse ambassadors have strong voices around mental health. Mr Morris said this was important as it opened up opportunities for the campaign to reach different audiences.
“We want to see the day where no one feels afraid to ask for help,” he said.