Page 4054 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 30 October 2013

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The Mental Health Community Coalition ACT is the peak body representing the not-for-profit community mental health sector in the ACT. This body promotes a diverse range of community agencies and local consumer and carer groups that support people recovering from a mental illness. The Mental Health Community Coalition works with stakeholders to support the development of new community services and supports the interests of consumers, carers and not-for-profit community organisations.

The Mental Health Community Coalition also coordinated Mental Health Week events in the ACT, which took place recently from 6 to 12 October. I want to reflect on that week today. Mental Health Week is an important initiative to raise community awareness and understanding of mental illness, to encourage the reduction of stigma and discrimination against people living with mental illness and to promote positive mental health and wellbeing. It aims to provide the opportunity to engage the wider community in learning more about mental health and illness issues.

The theme for Mental Health Week this year was building wellbeing, resilience and connectedness while promoting health-seeking behaviours. Throughout the week there were a number of events run, ranging from LGBTI mental health panels to a short film festival. I was pleased to be invited to the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network’s mad hatter’s tea and croquet party on 10 October.

The event was very well organised with an absolutely beautiful setup around the theme of Alice in Wonderland and the mad hatter’s tea party. It was a very fresh way of communicating the message which is so important in Mental Health Week. It was a great opportunity to speak with some mental health consumers while enjoying a lovely meal with a cup of tea and a game of croquet thrown in for good measure. Of course, hats were also obligatory, and I was quite pleased I had brought my own hat.

I would like to pay tribute to the Mental Health Community Coalition, the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, the Mental Health Foundation and various other organisations that play such a vital role in raising awareness for and assisting those with mental illness, not just in Mental Health Week but every day and every week.

Ms Margaret Stalker—death

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (6.23): As shadow minister for ageing, it is my privilege to work closely with many members of our community, and that includes our Assembly community as well. One of our colleagues, Dick Stalker, recently retired as an attendant in this place, but I have had opportunities to keep in touch with him from time to time. When I bumped into Dick last week outside the Assembly, he gave me the sad news of his mother’s death.

Margaret Clare Stalker, better known as Midge to her very wide community of friends, died at the age of 103 on 19 October 2013. Midge was born at Six Mile Flat on 2 June 1910, the second youngest child of Richard and Ellen McDermott. She was one of 10 children—five boys and five girls. She was the proud mother of two and grandmother of four, and her passing will be felt deeply by them and by many others in the community.

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