As we embark on a New Year I would like to thank all blueVoices members for your support and continued involvement in blueVoices. 2016 was another busy, rewarding, challenging and inspiring year with an unprecedented number of people contacting Beyond Blue for support, advice and information.
blueVoices members were involved in 46 activities/consultations in 2016, ultimately helping us to roll out suicide prevention pilot program The Way Back Support Service in the NSW Hunter region and ACT; launch Australian-first suicide safety planning app BeyondNow; continue to lobby the insurance industry to remove blanket mental health exclusions on insurance products; help thousands of people recover from depression and anxiety through NewAccess; support a record 10 million visits to our websites and 800,000 visitors to our online forums; respond to 162,000 contacts to our 24/7 Support Service; distribute more than 4 million free resources; continue campaigns to raise awareness of anxiety and tackle discrimination that harms the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; provide almost 1,000 speakers at events around Australia; launch the Dadvice web series and Healthy Families website to help parents and guardians raise healthy, resilient kids; fund new research in the areas of suicide prevention, children’s resilience, and police and emergency services workers; engage with 250,000 people to create more mentally healthy workplaces via Heads Up; and provide 1,400 secondary schools with the MindMatters framework to improve the wellbeing of young people.
Other important blueVoices contributions included informing our position statement on suicide prevention; our submission in response to the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan; research on suicide prevention; a good practice framework for first responders and a mental health strategy for hospitals. Many blueVoices members also generously shared their personal stories for use across our websites, printed resources, fundraising appeals, social media channels and in the media.
It’s been quite a year! Your experience is fundamental to how we approach our work, and design and evaluate our programs and services - and every day my work, and that of Beyond Blue staff, is richer for your insights and expertise.
We also continue to receive requests from other organisations seeking the input of blueVoices – which proves how respected and valued your voice is. Whether it be completing a survey, joining an advisory group, participating in research or sharing your story, every contribution matters and makes a difference.
We hope that you will continue to be part of our work into the future and on behalf of all the team at Beyond Blue, I wish you a fulfilling, happy and healthy 2017.
CEO Beyond Blue