Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards 2023 hosted by Open Minds
Assistant Minister for Health and Regional Health Infrastructure and Member for Keppel, Ms Brittany Lauga MP; Commissioner, Queensland Mental Health Commission, Mr Ivan Frkovic; Open Minds Board Chair, Ms Jo Jessop and CEO, Ms Kate Johnson; finalists and awardees, your family and friends; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to all First Nations people here today, and thank Songwoman Maroochy for her Welcome to Country.
As Patron of Open Minds, I am delighted to be with you this morning to honour the finalists and awardees of this year’s Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards.
It is truly inspirational to be joining such a large, diverse group of dedicated people, all focused on one significant goal—to build a brighter future for Queenslanders who are struggling with a mental illness or disorder.
I know that each of you are here because you care deeply about reducing stigma and discrimination, and improving holistic health outcomes for all, and I take this opportunity to commend you for your dedicated service to people of this State.
Over the past 15 years, we have seen the numbers of people experiencing poor mental health increase substantially, particularly amongst our young people.
The disruptive, isolating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, together with the complex, ever-changing and at times confronting nature of contemporary life have added to the many other social pressures of daily life.
The simple fact is that mental illness can strike anyone at anytime, and so it is up to all of us—not just those in this room—to look out for others, to recognise the signs and symptoms of distress, and to encourage people to seek help.
The Awards being presented this morning are testimony to the incredible work that is being done in this State to bring about positive change, because they highlight the depth and range of efforts being made by very special individuals, groups, and organisations.
The 11 categories being highlighted today, together with the Earle Duus [pron. juice] Memorial Award that I will soon be presenting, demonstrate how this vital work is reaching into all facets of our society.
Your innovative projects, programs and initiatives are encouraging inclusion, helping people to overcome loneliness by getting them involved, and spreading a message of support and hope—which aligns so perfectly with this year’s Queensland Mental Health Week theme “Awareness, Belonging, Connection”.
On behalf of Queenslanders, I congratulate you all for your outstanding contributions, and in particular, pay tribute to our soon-to-be awardees.
I also commend Open Minds—an organisation that alongside its 110 years of effort in the mental health and disability sector has, since 1996, hosted these Awards to celebrate extraordinary achievements—especially necessary in the face of growing challenges.
Finally, my gratitude goes to the panel of judges—who have such a difficult job—as well as to major sponsor, the Queensland Mental Health Commission, and the many generous category sponsors who have supported this important event.
I wish you all an entertaining and enjoyable morning.