Earlier this week, Premier Daniel Andrews spoke about the impacts of mental health upon the community, in response to receiving the final report from Australia's first ever Royal Commission into Mental Health.
The challenges associated with adequately addressing our mental wellbeing have never been greater or more pressing, and few, if any of us could say we have not been exposed in some way, shape or form to the anguish of someone we know who has been experiencing a mental health issue.
We can feel powerless to help and torn to witness the pain and turmoil of others, but hopefully, this week's report marks an important turning point in the long and arduous campaign for better support, services and recognition that mental health has an impact on each and every Victorian.
The Premier's statement included the acknowledgement that the government was failing in delivering appropriate services and support and the commitment to do better. Whatever the cost of these past failings and how you measure them, no one can deny how important it is that there be positive changes, more and better services that are adequately funded, and that are accessible to all who need them.
We need better education and awareness about how to help deal with any mental health issues someone we know might be experiencing, and to give support when and where it's needed.
We must ensure we provide an environment that says it's okay to ask for help and that once and for all demolishes any stigmas or barriers that for too long hindered some from seeking help when they needed it.
And we must make sure we have mental health services that allow for early and proactive intervention, located not just in areas of the greatest need, but in all areas.
The commitment to do better must be accompanied by support of all politicians.
Victorians cannot afford to see political gamesmanship enacted over something so vital.
We've long lost any desire to see our pollies look to score points from one another over matters in the community's best interests, and matters so important to us all.
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