To kick-start a national conversation about mental health across the wider community, the ABC is launching Mental As a week of distinctive programming for Mental Health Week, 5-12 October 2014, and invites all Australians to join the discussion.
Mental illness affects every Australian. Half of us will experience a mental health issue directly while many others, as carers, families, friends and colleagues will live with or witness its impact. It is an issue for us all.
Across ABC TV, radio, online and mobile ABC Mental As will take a look at mental health from all angles and perspectives, from comedy to documentary, entertainment to debate, as we aim to help join the dots on mental health in Australia. We want to encourage audiences to talk about mental health, seek support and give generously.
The week will culminate in a two-hour, live, TV fundraising event on Friday 10 October – The Friday Night Crack Up. Australia’s biggest personalities – comedians, actors, sportspeople, musicians and politicians – will show their support for Mental Health Week and encourage Australians to take action, start talking and to give to mental health research.
ABC Mental As will be supported by a number of high profile Australians including actress Deborah Mailman, Network Ten presenter Jessica Rowe, designer Alex Perry, advertising guru Todd Sampson, musician Missy Higgins, actor Shane Jacobsen and ABC presenters Jeremy Fernandez and Emma Alberici who will act as ambassadors to raise awareness of the initiative, and stimulate conversations.
High profile local artists including Ben Quilty, Richard Bell and Euan MacLeod have also thrown their support behind Mental As by offering artworks that explore the theme of mental illness for an online auction. Money raised at auction will go towards mental health fundraising efforts.
Mental As begins on Sunday 5 October.