|Legal status||Registered charity with the ACNC|
|Purpose||To promote mental health, create change to improve mental health, and support those affected by anxiety, depression and suicide.|
|Headquarters||Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia|
|Julia Gillard |
|Kate Carnell |
It works in partnership with health services, schools, workplaces, universities, media and community organisations, as well as people living with anxiety and depression, their friends and families, to raise community awareness of anxiety and depression and reduce associated stigma. Founded by Jeff Kennett, former Premier of Victoria, in 2000, Beyond Blue is currently Chaired by Julia Gillard , a former Prime Minister of Australia. Gillard is supported by the CEO Georgie Harman, and Deputy Chair Kate Carnell .
Beyond Blue began in October 2000 as a five-year initiative of the Australian Government and state and territory governments after a period of public debate on the treatment of depression sufferers assisted by intensive and persistent lobbying by former Premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett. The aim was to raise awareness of depression and to reduce the associated stigma.
Beyond Blue addresses a range of mental health issues in Australia, including mental health stigma indigenous issues, post-natal depression school based interventions and youth mental health.
In 2011, Jeff Kennett remarked publicly that children of gay and lesbian parents have worse mental health outcomes, and amid a resulting controversy Beyond Blue staff and supporters called on the organisation to create specific programs for gay and lesbian Australians. In 2012, Beyond Blue launched a $1.5 million year-long campaign to reduce discrimination against gay, lesbian and transsexual people in Australia. In 2015, the organisation issued a statement in support of same-sex marriage.
In 2018, Beyond Blue rejected a donation of $5,000 from wrestler Dave Marshall. Marshall, who is gay, publicly stating the donation was a portion of the money he earned selling pornographic photos and videos. Beyond Blue subsequently said they would not accept money that comes from "gambling, alcohol or pornography". Marshall instead donated the money to the suicide prevention Black Dog Institute.
In 2013, Beyond Blue campaigned against the insurance industry's discrimination against people who have experienced anxiety and depression. They also launched a campaign featuring actor Ben Mendelsohn as the character "Anxiety", describing symptoms and how it feels to experience anxiety, and conducted a survey into the mental health of doctors and medical students finding very high rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
A 2015 survey of 1,200 Australians by TNS Australia revealed that one in five Australians still believe that people with anxiety are just "putting it on". Beyond Blue is launching another campaign on radio and TV to raise awareness of anxiety and its symptoms. Australian actor Guy Pearce provided the voice over for this campaign.
Men are a key audience for Beyond Blue and the Man Therapy campaign achieved widespread coverage. The campaign was a "first of its kind" program in Australia and featured a humorous character, "Dr Brian Ironwood", urging men to take action when it comes to their wellbeing. Launched in 2013, it was an international collaboration with the Colorado Office for Suicide Prevention, whose Man Therapy was adapted for an Australian audience. The campaign was programmed to last one year. Ipsos Social Research Institute evaluated the campaign's effectiveness for Beyond Blue and found that 1/3 of men 18 and over recognised the Man Therapy campaign, 280,000 visited the website and 5-15% of men aware of the campaign changed their attitudes to mental health.
Beyond Blue and AOMB also reached agreement to fundraise an initiative to raise awareness of anxiety and depression in Australia by organising several charity events.
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