Australia

A new $10 million government mental health campaign is being translated into 15 languages


The federal government is again urging Australians to take care of their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, launching a new campaign that will be translated into 15 different languages.

The “How’s your head today?” campaign urges people to prioritise their mental health, raise awareness about how to identify when something is wrong and encourage people to seek help.

Announcing the campaign on Sunday, the government said it would run across radio and print in Vietnamese, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, Italian, Korean, Spanish, Punjabi, Hindi, Khmer, Thai, Turkish, Persian and Macedonian.

The campaign will be launched on TV, radio, in shopping centres and venues, online and through social media, and will continue through to next year.

The multi-language material is set for distribution next week, with radio advertisements to commence the week after.

“This has been the hardest of years,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told reporters in Canberra.

“We all need to check in on our mental health and support is available.”

COVID-19 has had a significant effect on the mental health and wellbeing of many people across the country.

The pandemic has caused isolation, job losses and financial stress for many families, with crisis organisations and suicide prevention services experiencing higher demand.

Lifeline previously reported record months for its 57-year-old service in April and August, with the organisation receiving up to 90,000 calls a month as of early September.

Kids Helpline also said in September that it had gone from receiving an average of 6,000 contacts a week to up to 10,000 per week.

Culturally diverse Australians often face difficulty in accessing mental health support due to factors such as stigma in their communities, not knowing where to start the journey towards care, and language barriers.

Earlier this year, basic language errors were uncovered in translated Victorian and federal government coronavirus messaging.

Mr Hunt said the federal government has been working closely with community members from culturally and linguistically diverse communities throughout the pandemic.

“We’ve had fact sheets in 60 languages, electronic advertising about COVID safe practices in over 20 languages,” he said.

“There’s also been many, many meetings which [acting multicultural affairs] Minister [Alan] Tudge and assistant Minister [Jason] Wood have helped oversee in relation to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.”

Mr Hunt also thanked Australia’s multicultural communities for helping to keep the spread of the virus down.

“They have been great. They’ve been a very, very important part of our national defence.”

Additional reporting by AAP.

Readers seeking support with mental health can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.au. Embrace Multicultural Mental Health supports people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

 

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