Member for Mulgrave and Queensland Minister for Mental Health Curtis Pitt will meet today with people in Cairns experiencing early symptoms of mental ill health to promote the latest stage of the State Government’s anti-stigma campaign.

Mr Pitt said the State Government’s new Facebook application launched last week aims to tackle the stigma surrounding mental ill health.

He said the application challenges users to ‘live a day in the life’ of someone experiencing mental illness.

“The new application takes users on a journey through an online video experience, showing them in a very personal way some of the issues people with mental illness face on a daily basis,” Mr Pitt said.

“These include things like losing friends, having a failed relationship, lack of support and contact from family, or difficulties in the workplace.

“Experiences like this can affect people’s mental health and wellbeing, and anyone experiencing these things should understand support is available and it’s ok to ask for help.”

Mr Pitt said the application has the potential to benefit thousands of people, including users of the State Government-funded Time Out House in Cairns, run by Aftercare.

“The Cairns Time Out House is supporting around 100 people in Far North Queensland with early symptoms of mental ill health in short-term accommodation over three years,’ he said.

“It’s backed by $2.8 million in State Government funding to provide young Far North Queenslanders with a safe and supportive living environment while they access community supports.

“On-site workers are helping to link residents with counselling and specialist clinical and mental health services on their journey to recovery.

“Many of the users of the Cairns Time Out have experienced stigma, and they know just how important it is to seek help and support.”

Mr Pitt said the Facebook application also includes testimonials from Queenslanders living with mental illness and enables people to submit their own story.

“This is the latest phase of the State Government’s $8.5 million anti-stigma campaign, Change Our Minds, launched last year by Premier Anna Bligh,” Mr Pitt said.

“Last year we launched anti-stigma television and print advertisements and now we’re expanding the campaign to social media.

“One in five Australians will experience a mental illness in a 12-month period, and one-in-two will experience it in their lifetime.

“We need to ensure people experiencing mental illness know that help is available, and where they can access support.

“People can be treated for mental illness, but they can’t help how they’re treated because of it.”

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