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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (16 October) . . Page.. 2990..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

those recommendations. It is the same as in any internal review where there are a range of stakeholders and a range of views. The government did not—surprise, surprise!—accept every one of the recommendations. But this conspiracy atmosphere or suggestion that Mrs Burke makes is simply that: a conspiracy.

There was no report. The ACT government commissioned no report. No report was delivered to government. There was an internal review within the facility looking at how the service might be developed and improved and how quality improvement could be undertaken. A significant number of the recommendations have been acted on. This nonsense about seeking reports and conspiracies is just that: nonsense and a conspiracy. (Time expired.)

World Mental Health Day

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.20): World Mental Health Day fell on 10 October 2007. I was fortunate enough to attend "World Mental Health Day 2. Mental Health in a Changing World: the Impact of Culture and Diversity"at the National Museum of Australia. The event was well attended and it was encouraging to see so many people supporting this cause, including, of course, the mental health association of the ACT.

As a side note, let me say that it was encouraging to see that the ACT government has continued its support for raising awareness by announcing funding so that the second mental illness awareness play, titled Imperfectly Sane: Delusions of Splendour, can be held later this year. It was great to catch up with some of the organisers of the mental health awareness play Imperfectly Sane: Delusions of Splendour, which I was cast in earlier in the year. We were able to get together for a breakfast last Friday.

I would like to inform members of some alarming statistics that I have learned regarding migrants and mental illness. One person out of 35, or three per cent of the global population, is an international migrant. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 50 per cent of all migrants experience mental health problems that range from chronic mental disorders to trauma and stress. Studies show that a sizeable number of migrants and their families do not seek help for their mental illness. How do they know if they are suffering from a mental illness?

While the precise cause of mental illness still remains a mystery, what we do know for sure is that mental illness does not come down to the personal attributes of people who suffer from it. There is not anything inherently wrong with the people who suffer from mental illness; it is not a weakness on their part. There are, however, a number of factors that are believed to contribute to mental illness. These include changes in brain structure or mental chemistry that affect the feelings, thoughts and behaviour of individuals. There are environmental factors too; these might include family and friends, relationships, traumatic experiences or physical abuse. There are biological factors such as genetic disposition to mental illness. There is also substance, drug or alcohol abuse and, finally, negative thought patterns.

Mental illness is a very serious problem directly affecting about 20 per cent of Australians at some stage in their lives. Young adults are particularly susceptible to


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