|Purpose||To provide a national focus and community leadership to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the Australian community.|
beyondblue 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 family, to raise community awareness of anxiety and depression and reduce associated stigma. The founding chairman was Jeff Kennett and the current Chair is Julia Gillard. The CEO is Georgie Harman.
beyondblue takes a public health approach to anxiety and depression, focusing on improving the health of the whole population, across the whole lifespan. beyondblue works with specific population groups in a range of settings - including educational settings, workplaces, health services and online - in order to be accessible to as many people as possible.
beyondblue began in October 2000 as a five-year initiative of the Australian federal and state and territory governments after a period of public debate on the treatment of depression sufferers. The aim was to close down all public institutions that catered to mentally ill or socially unstable in order to save cost.
beyondblue 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 beyondblue staff and supporters called on the organisation to create specific programs for gay and lesbian Australians. In 2012, beyondblue launched a $1.5 million year-long campaign to reduce discrimination against gay, lesbian and transsexual people in Australia. In 2015, the organization issued a statement in support of same-sex marriage.
In 2018, Beyondblue rejected a donation of $5,000 from wrestler Dave Marshall. Marshall, who is gay, publicly stated the donation was a portion of the money he earned selling pornographic photos and videos. Beyondblue subsequently said they would not accept money that comes from "gambling, alcohol or pornography". Marshall instead donated the money to the suicide prevention group Black Dog Institute.
In 2013 beyondblue 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 1 in 5 Australians still believe that people with anxiety are just "putting it on". beyondblue 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 beyondblue 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 beyondblue 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.
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