Established in October 2000, beyondblue initially focused on raising awareness of depression and reducing the associated stigma. As our knowledge and impact on people's lives broadened, through research and community engagement, we added the key issue of anxiety conditions in 2011 and, more recently, suicide prevention to our core purpose.
Despite depression being the leading cause of disability worldwide and predicted to be the leading cause of burden of disease by 2030, ahead of heart disease, few countries had attempted a national response to depression. Other national programs that tried to get the wider community to change their attitudes to mental health were met with limited success.
However, with just nine staff in the early days and a passionate Chairman in The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC, beyondblue rapidly grew and soon became a national leader in the mental health sector. The organisation has also captured public awareness of depression, anxiety and suicide, and confidence to seek help continues to grow Australia-wide.
Since its inception beyondblue has had the support and vote of confidence of Federal, State and Territory Governments. We continue to value the strong bipartisan support they provide and commit to our work in partnership with all tiers of government, the health sector, our corporate and community partners, and with the media.
Now with approximately 100 staff, beyondblue looks forward to driving change and providing information about, and support for, depression, anxiety and suicide prevention to a broad range of people with differing needs, wherever they live, whenever they need it.
beyondblue has carried out independent evaluations since 2001 that have confirmed we are a highly efficient, effective and action-oriented organisation that offers unique national expertise, scope and reach. Our services and information are valued and well regarded by the community.
"It is clear that beyondblue has established itself over the past decade as a major force in shaping public policy and in introducing new programs in mental health in Australia. It is true to say that it is the public health face of mental health in the country. Given the well-documented shortfall in mental health services alongside the long-standing problems with stigmatisation and discrimination towards people with mental illness, this is a considerable achievement. It is very important that beyondblue continues to prosper in this role in order that progress continues, new knowledge is created and new initiatives are put in place." – Independent evaluation report 2009