It has been a busy time for the Equally Well team as we worked towards hosting our inaugural Equally Well National Symposium in Melbourne. The event was a great success, bringing together over 65 speakers across a wide range of Mental Health topics, highlighting innovative practice and raising important issues that affect the physical health toll experienced by people with mental illness.
The two-day event brought together, for the first time, many of the 85 agencies and organisations signed up to the Equally Well Consensus Statement, as well as the pioneers of Equally Well in New Zealand which founded this growing international movement.
The 240-plus participants who came from across Australia included people living with mental illness, carers, health professionals, including GPs, psychiatrists and pharmacists, and funders, researchers, and policy makers.
The packed event at RMIT in Melbourne opened to keynote addresses from Lucy Brogden, Chair of the National Mental Health Commission and Equally Well’s “exercise Champion” Dr Simon Rosenbaum. It closed with a powerful address from Fay Jackson, Emeritus Deputy NSW Mental Health Commissioner, who put her own lived experience firmly on the table.
“Do you plan on being old?” she asked.
“I don’t,” she said. “It’s highly unlikely I’ll make it.”
Takeaways from the two days included the need to break down silos between physical and mental health care, build strong and diverse collaborations, and to address the stigma and discrimination in and out of the health system for people living with mental illness.
Strong sponsorship support meant we were able to offer free registration for this packed and popular event, which also attracted excellent feedback such as:
“I think it was one of the best symposiums I have attended for years. Keeping it free and affordable and maybe having it in different cities each year would be great.”
You can access all the abstracts, bios, presentations and many videos of the speakers on the Equally Well website. The event was covered by the Croakey Conference News Service, read more stories here.