I am delighted to welcome you to Personal best, a place where you will find the very latest articles and research about achieving and maintaining good mental health and wellbeing.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you rolled your eyes at the word wellbeing. What a buzz word!  Don’t you feel like everyone is trying to sell you wellbeing or self-care or something like it today?

The difference here is that the information we present is evidence based. Facts not flim flam. And it’s all free. 

Presenting it to you is just another way beyondblue is striving to achieve its vision of everyone in Australia achieving their best possible mental health.

And while it isn’t really wellbeing advice, I would like to take a few minutes of your time to update you on some things that are happening at beyondblue that should make you feel good.

It’s been three and a half years since I joined the beyondblue Board and almost a year since I was appointed Chair, taking over the reins from the founding Chairman, The Hon. Jeff Kennett, AC.

When Jeff launched beyondblue in 2000 his ambition was to raise awareness of depression and start a national conversation about mental health. He certainly achieved that.

People in Australia are now better informed and more willing to talk about the importance of good mental health than ever before. beyondblue has grown alongside them, expanding our role to meet community needs and to include Australia’s most common mental health condition – anxiety – and to address the biggest killer of Australians under 45 – suicide.

While we continue our core business of raising awareness and tackling stigma and discrimination, today beyondblue is there for you, your family, friends and work colleagues in new and innovative ways.

We are open around the clock through our free Support Service and online forums.  We have trialed and proved the benefits of new services. NewAccess is one and it’s all about early intervention and prevention.  It delivers coaching support to those who might be on a path to problems without help.  We are now working with Primary Healthcare Networks, which cover all of Australia, to try and make sure everyone who needs it has NewAccess available to them.

At the other end of the spectrum our Way Back Support Service is helping save lives by supporting people who have attempted suicide. We ensure a support worker is there to get them through the three months afterwards, when the risk of trying again is very high. 

Julia Gillard talks to various people at an event

After three years and more than 1800 people referred to our six sites, we know The Way Back works. A big thanks to The Movember Foundation and our community supporters for raising the money that enabled us to create The Way Back.

Now the Federal Government has stepped up recently committing $37.6 million over four years to expand the service to up to 25 new sites across the nation. We are delighted to see this support.

We won’t stop advocating for The Way Back until it is right around Australia. Two hundred Australians attempt suicide every day and of those, on average, eight will die.  This problem is too big to do anything other than act nationally.

In addition to all this service innovation, we have taken on a momentous national project called the National Education Initiative. 

Once again, we thank the Federal Government for making financial support available. beyondblue was chosen through a competitive tender to be the leader of the National Education Initiative, a $98 million four-year plan that will draw together the current patchwork of programs operating in schools and early learning services around the country into a cohesive whole.

It will give busy educators the ‘how to’ on promoting good mental health, so they know what to look out for, what to do and where to go to get help for kids who are struggling. Free to every Australian early learning service, primary and secondary school, it will be part of a child’s learning journey from the moment they enter childcare to the end of year 12.

As someone who has a passion for education as well as mental health, this is something I am immensely excited by. We know that good mental health – just like good physical health – means that young people stay at school, can concentrate better in class, and achieve their best academic results to set them up for lives where they can achieve their potential. Educators will be given the tools to look after their own mental health too. 

beyondblue is designing and building this initiative as you read this, with our delivery partners Early Childhood Australia and headspace. Watch out for the launch later this year.

What makes beyondblue so special is that all these achievements are the result of sharing, co-operation and team work.  It couldn’t happen without the combined efforts of those who serve on the Board with me, our government funders and stakeholders, our donors and fundraisers, our Ambassadors, Speakers, blueVoices members, volunteers, and, of course, our dedicated staff.

Now after reading how much work we are all doing together, you probably need some time out and a bit of wellbeing advice.

Please read on and I hope you find this new section useful.

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