When I joined the Board of Beyond Blue at Jeff Kennett's invitation two and a half years ago, it was for me as the daughter of a psychiatric nurse, like coming full circle. Through my father's work I'd always understood the importance of talking openly about mental health and responding to those in need.
Jeff Kennett has always believed passionately in Beyond Blue and its potential to change the way we, as a nation, think and talk about our mental health. Today as I take up the Chair of Beyond Blue following Jeff's retirement, it's my intention to build on the rock solid foundations he laid for one of the most recognised and respected not-for-profits in Australia. I will continue Jeff's fierce bipartisanship because Beyond Blue is not owned by anyone other than the Australian community. I'm delighted to be able to continue contributing in an area I too feel passionate about.
Beyond Blue will continue to be an organisation for all Australians from preschool to uni from the first day at work to retirement and beyond. For traders and professionals men and women on the land the office workers and the executive floor. At Beyond Blue we don't just want people talking about their mental health we want them taking action to recover. To build their resilience and lower their risk of developing depression anxiety and most particularly the risk of suicide.
On average eight Australians take their own lives every day and six of those will be men. As Chair of Beyond Blue I'll be working with a dedicated team of Board Directors and staff, who are determined to make good mental health practices a part of all of our daily lives.
At Beyond Blue we believe resilient children make resilient adults, and that our work can lead to generational improvements to the mental health of all. We believe that with the right support, opportunities and compassion, and by tackling head-on stigma and discrimination, the millions of Australians affected by depression and anxiety every year can, and will, lead meaningful and productive lives.
I don't underestimate any of the challenges that lie ahead as we try to improve the mental health of all Australians and to prevent suicide, but I'm a huge optimist about the future, and the core of my optimism is a belief in our collective ability to educate and support all generations about how best to look after our own mental health and the mental health of those we love. I look forward to working with the dedicated staff at Beyond Blue, with the thousands of committed volunteers and fundraisers without whom we could not function, and the corporate sponsors and partners who give so generously in support of our work.