About Mental Health

Why Is Mental Health So Important?

Mental Health is the concern of every member of our community. Official figures show that 1 in 5 Australians in any 12 month period will have a mental illness. This figure is increased in adolescents and in the older age groups. When you consider it is estimated that at least one-third of all people who have a mental illness do not seek help, then the figure of 1:5 increases dramatically. Add to this number the people who are Carers for people with mental illness and you have a large percentage of the population affected by mental ill health.

The costs to the workplace
Questions you may need to ask yourself if you are a manager:
  • Are you aware of how to Performance Manage a person with mental illness?
  • Are you aware of the positive aspects of employing a person who has a mental health issue?
  • Do you know what mania looks like and the potential positive and negative aspects of it?
  • Do you know how to prevent mental illness in the workplace?
  • What training have your directors, managers, WHS, HR, and other staff had in mental health?
  • What policies and protocols does your workplace have to prevent stress and mental illness from being a burden?
  • Are you aware of the changes in workplace legislation about stress and mental illness and the precedents that have now been set in the courts of law about litigation against individual directors, managers and workplaces who have not provided a safe workplace?
  • Do you know how to make workplace adjustments to suit a person with mental illness?
  • Do you know how to make Wellness/Stay Safe Contracts?

According to Workcover statistics, Manual Handling injuries cost $224 million dollars in Australia in 2004/05, Occupational Overuse claims were $29.7 million and Mental Disorder claims cost $91.6 million. This equates to 36% of these claims, plus one must add into this the number of manual handling injuries that occurred as a consequence of stress and mental illness.

Depression alone is estimated, in economic terms to:
  • Reduce workplace performance by 40%
  • Cost the workplace $9960 per employee who has undiagnosed depression
  • Contribute to the loss of 6 million working days annually
  • Constitute 5.8% of workers compensation claims made in 2003, with an average time off of 96.1 days, compared with 28.9 days for other claims. (While official figures of 2005-06 have not been released as yet it is expected that these figures will be a great deal higher, some estimations are of 30% increase).

Add to these figures the cost of other illnesses such as bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety, ADHD, etc and the time and inability of carers to work as efficiently as possible and you can see that it is imperative for the social and financial cost to our community that people become educated in mental health.

However, people with mental illness who know they can be open about their health and be supported at work take significantly fewer days off work and some researchers say that these people frequently have less time off work than people who do not have mental health issues.

If the business and community sector continue to ignore the warning signs of individuals who may be affected by mental health care concerns, the manifestation of problems may complex and difficult to manage. However if people are proactive and put into place education, training, workplace and social adjustments to ensure that people do not become unwell or are supported so that they recuperate quickly the outcomes will be positive, enlightening, and sustainable.

Consider the famous people throughout history who have had mental illness and the amazing achievements they have brought to our way of living. Where would we be without them? Who are the next Michelangelo’s, Leonardo da Vince’s, John Nash’s, Beethoven’s etc. they may well be in your family, workplace or community.

Links and Info

Mental Health Service

This site offers a range of information about providing initial help to a person experiencing a mental health problem. Also available from the site is information about the courses and training packing offered. Vision in Mind offers this award winning course designed by Betty Kitchener and Professor Tony Jorm. As the name implies it is a course about first Aid for Mental Health. We have found this course liberating for all who attend. It demystifies and destigmatises mental illness. It is a practical yet stimulating tool which will unlock many doors leading to education, confidence, and ability to both prevent and control mental illness. Please see the Mental Health First Aid website by clicking on the heading or visiting and visit our Testimonial Page.

Corporate Communique for events outside the square:

Corporate Communique is a unique, creative, energetic and highly professional team of event organizers. Fay has spoken at many of their conferences across Australia and can attest to how exciting and captivating their events are. Corporate Communique has used Fay Jackson as a Keynote Speaker at a number of our conferences and we can’t recommend her highly enough. She continues to receive standing ovations for her unique angle on mental health, presented with both captivating stories and serious strategies for working with people affected by mental health. A key strength is her ability to relate the subject matter to any number of different audiences making it both interesting and importantly, relevant.

Fay is flexible to deal with, always punctual, well prepared and strives to get the most out of every one of her presentations.

Feedback from our delegates always has Fay at the top of the list of preferred speakers and we will continue to both use and recommend Fay on a regular basis.

Jenny Boden, Managing Director, Corporate Communiqué,

Events Outside the Square

Phone: 03 5977 0244

Mobile: 0419 582 884


Total Focus and Life in Balance

Fay Jackson also offers the Total Focus workshop and the Life in Balance Coaching Program. These programs are designed to lead you towards the realization of all of your abilities and possibilities. You will be inspired and educated towards being goal orientated and outcomes focused. You will stop just dreaming about what you want to achieve in your life and make it happen. These programs and Fays coaching will help you kick the procrastination habit for life!!!!!! For more information visit the website by clicking on the heading or visiting

Australian Rotatory Health Research Fund

The Australian Rotary Health Research fund is an amazing national charity which has as its current focus, Mental Health. The ARHRF is running public forums, symposiums, conferences, work place forums and are working their way around Australia in a safari bus and convoy distributing information, guiding people and providing essential links to agencies which can help people in need. For more information log onto

Fay has supported this life saving project for the past 5 years and was honoured and humbled to have received their Australian Rotary Health Research Fund.

Medal for Meritorious Service to Community. If you have the opportunity to attend one of their Mental Health Public Forums the ARHRF run in conjunction with Beyondblue you will experience a challenging, educational and encouraging experience. The forums have a panel of speakers which consists of a Carer, a Consumer (a person with mental illness) and a Clinician. Please see the Mental Health First Aid website by clicking on the heading or visiting

SANE Australia

SANE Australia is a national charity helping people affected by mental illness. What is so unique about this organization is the fact that it is not funded by any state or federal government money. There for SANE is able to have unbiased comment on the state of mental health in Australia. Fay and Vision in Mind is extremely proud to be associated with this charity which not only runs unbiased political and social commentary but also funds news breaking and incredibly important research into the sate of mental health in Australia. For more information on their services please visit their site by clicking on the heading or visiting

Beyond Blue

Is the national depression initiative. It is delivering much needed education and destigmatising programs to the Australian Community. Beyondblue offers comprehensive material on a range on mental health issues. The site contains interactive checklists, printable fact sheets and many other resources. Fay Jackson has been on the Consumer and Carer committee of Beyondblue since its early inception. For more information see the website by clicking on the heading or visiting

Mood Gym

Is the free, on line, cognitive behavioral therapy which Fay Jackson and Vision in Mind recommends to people. You can access this through their website at

The Life Gym

The Life Gym is a Health and Wellbeing Coaching Service for anyone who wants to develop new positive habits to enhance their energy, motivation and commitment to achieve life goals. Want to lose weight, give up smoking, run the city to surf or just be more positive in your thinking? Just call Eugene on 02 8006 1065 for an informal chat. Eugene has 30 years experience in the health industry and he is passionate about human potential. Your health and wellbeing is the foundation for achieving your goals in life. If you want to move from the lounge to the arena of life, from spectator to participator, just call Eugene on 02 8006 1065 or e-mail him

To book Fay for your next function or to attend one of the fabulous workshops offered please contact Fay. It is not possible to list a generic pricelist on this site as pricing will vary dependant upon the desired program, length of presentation, or degree of consultancy. For further information or to make a booking please contact Fay by phone: 0438 472 254 (within Australia) or email:

There is much debate about this and as yet there is no scientific conclusion. However, we do know that if a person has mental illness in their family then the likelihood of another family member contracting the mental illness is increased. There are ways that a person can decrease their chances of getting the mental illness. Some of the things that can be done are:

Avoid all illegal drugs including marijuana, speed, cocaine, ice, ecstasy etc. It is believed that a person carrying mental illness within their genesis at a greatly increased risk of getting mental illness if parting in drugs. A drug-induced psychosis may also take place.
Avoid too much stress over a prolonged period.
Take regular exercise.
Make sure your diet contains all vital minerals, vitamins, proteins, etc.
Do not drink very much alcohol and never binge drink.
Take great care of your physical health before, during and after viruses.
Avoid situations that may place you at risk of receiving a heavy blow to the head including during childhood and adolescents.

Yes. By law mental illness is considered to be a disability, therefore antidiscrimination legislation relates to Mental Illness. As an employer, teacher, service etc you need to be aware that if you do not treat a person with mental illness equitably there are laws to support these people’s needs. People with mental illness must be treated with respect and given every opportunity to advance in work, studies etc.

Employees may be eligible to some subsidies when employing some people with a mental illness.

Many people with mental illness do not consider it to be a disability and may even consider it to be an asset as Fay Jackson does.

Unfortunately the answer is yes. People who are caring for someone who has a mental illness may be tired, fearful, irritable and lacking in concentration if they are experiencing lack of sleep and stress due to their loved one vacuuming the house in the middle of the night with all the house lights on and the stereo on full blast (some symptoms of mania). People who know that they can be honest with their work colleagues and teachers about what is happening in their life will be much better off. Workplace adjustments may need to be made for a short while during the acute stage of the illness.

Of course there is the terrifying issue that some people face of their loved one being suicidal, self harming or may have in fact taken their own lives. This person needs support, understanding, compassion and to know that they should not be embarrassed or ashamed of what is happening to them and their loved one. Mental illness is a physical illness which is a chemical imbalance of the brain. The stigmatizing language used around mental illness is particularly harmful at this stage. If a person dies from mental illness, please do not use the terminology of “he/she committed suicide”. People commit crimes and commit sins. Suicide is neither of these. When a person dies from mental illness they are dying from an illness as physical as cancer. People do not “commit cancer” when they die from their illness. There are many other forms of stigmatizing language which people need to eradicate from their vocabulary.

Always remember that a Carer may be a young child, a teenager, a neighbours a colleague, or anyone else who is placed in this position.

Definitely! As mentioned above prevention is always better than response and cure so if the supports are in place for the entire school, TAFE or Uni population, ensuring students know that they will not be ostracized or stigmatized in anyway when seeking help, problems are much less likely to occur. These people may need extra support in times leading up to exams or having major works marked. The biggest problem experienced by many students with mental illness is that they are often perfectionists and may need to be encouraged that “good enough is in fact good enough”. People with obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar and other illnesses often want things to be perfect. Vision in Mind recommends that your staff and students consider doing the Mental Health First Aid Course. You could in fact make this a part of your curriculum e.g. as a part of you PDHPE program or your interdisciplinary projects in Uni. Your staff will benefit greatly from this and will feel much more peaceful about their abilities to help all students and other staff members.

Again the answer is “of course”. In fact I have found, working with hundreds of people with mental health issues, that the greater difficulty with them is that they are too honest. There may be a problem with a person who is experiencing mania being overly generous and making fantastic plans which are a little ahead of the business plan your company may have, however if you and your employees are aware of the signs of mania and support your valuable employee or manager during this time you can safe guard and prevent problems occurring. You should also make the most of these manic phases because the person with mania will come up with incredibly creative and visionary ideas for your business or service. If a person is experiencing psychosis and says some really strange things, this is not because they are dishonest, it is indeed because they believe everything they hear see and feel to be real although it may not be at the time. Again, if the person who has mental illness is supported they are much more likely to be accepting of their condition and recognize the early signs of their illness and seek timely help. There is no need for the person to take time off work provided things are under control. If you and your workplace, school, etc are aware of the warning signs you too can help the person to get help quickly. Workplace agreements that are drawn up with compassion, acceptance and support are a great deterrent from people becoming unwell or difficulties arising from this. Prevention is always better than cure

Of course they can, provided that they are not currently taking tranquilizing type medication. If this is needed for a short while it may be better to give them different duties for those few days, but this is no different to a person who has a sore back and are given lighter duties until their back heals. There are other things you can do about Mental Health to ensure that your WHS standards are high and your premiums are lowered. And yes, most people with mental illness do have good driving records.

Absolutely!!!!! And this may very well be an understatement. Many people who have mental illness are extremely intelligent and creative. Many studies are currently underway into why it is that so many geniuses, artists, scientists, mathematicians etc have mental illness. The other thing to remember is that people who are given employment and are supported in their health feel that they have something to prove. I have seen figures which suggest that people who are employed and are supported in their mental health actually have fewer days off work than people who do not have mental illness.

Studies show that people with bipolar disorder are particularly creative, gregarious, are lateral thinkers, problem solvers and great “people people”.

Many managers and company directors have mental health issues yet they are just the people that give companies the leading edge.

It is also important that mental illness is represented across all intellectual groups, all races, sexes, ages, religions etc.

Usually, this is not the best long term option for the workplace or the person experiencing mental health concerns. The study was undertaken by Beyondblue (see Links page) points out that very often the best thing for a speedy recovery and to ensure that you do not lose a valuable employee is to keep the person at work and in their usual social environment. If a person is forced to take time off work, against their will, they may feel that it is too embarrassing to return to work when they are well enough to do so. If the person is able to stay at work, perhaps with some adjustments, then this is the better option. Some people do their best work when they are experiencing an episode of mental illness, e.g. most creative, most visionary, and most confident when experiencing mania.

As you can see when you view the page called Fay Jackson – Profile, our CEO has had a great deal of experience in working in mental health in acute wards and in the community. She has received many awards for her work including the prestigious ARHRF Medal for Meritorious Service to Community. Fay also has Bipolar Disorder.

Fay managers her condition in a variety of ways and has learned to control it and turn what was considered to be a disability into an asset. “Mental illness can be seen as not a disability, but a different ability when accepted and used to the best of a person’s full potential. With a realistic estimate being that 1:3 people by the year 2020 will have a mental health issue to contend with it must now be considered NORMAL to have a mental illness. The current figure of 1:5 people having a mental illness shows how common it is. If 1:5 people have blonde hair and that is considered normal; If 1:5 people have blue eyes and that is considered normal, then 1:5 people having a mental health issue is normal. It is just a different kind of normal. We are all different otherwise the world would be filled with clones and lacking in culture and wonder. What is normal? What does a normal gum tree look like?”

Fay is proud to be the complete person she is, in control of her life and career and has been recognized across our nation as the face of Mental Health by many people (she has been used in two TV add campaigns by the ARHRF). She is also a Carer and Fay’s wonderful brother Peter Jackson who was the children’s programming officer for the ABC television and wrote and directed such programs as Blinky Bill, Ship To Shore, ‘Round the Twist, who unfortunately died 7 years ago, also had bipolar disorder.

Fay has an amazing knack of engaging individuals, groups and communities. People feel safe with Fay and know that they will have the expertise and opinions of a person who has experienced mental health as a manager within a large mental health service, as a performance and public participation manager, an advocate and from a very personal perspective. Fay is able to guide people to full acceptance and understanding of their own mental health issues and those of their staff, colleagues, students, community and their Carers and families. After knowing Fay, people’s attitudes to themselves and life change. Give yourself, your company and community the leading edge and ask Vision in Mind to recognize your needs and to help you.

The term Mental Illness covers a gamut of illnesses including such things as:

  • Depression
  • Post-Natal Depression
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder (once called Manic Depression)
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADD, ADHD etc
  • Personality Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Many others
  • These illnesses are chemical imbalances of the brain. Just as people with diabetes have a chemical imbalance in their body and need to take insulin to manage their illness. People with mental health issues need a variety of medications, psychotherapy, exercise, a good diet, no drug use, little alcohol and coffee, a lot of water, etc to keep them well. Mental illness is a physical illness that manifests itself psychologically. It is nothing to be ashamed of just as people are not ashamed of having diabetes or asthma. Our community must stop the stigma surrounding mental illness to ensure that people with concerns about their mental health get help quickly. If people are helped early, very often an acute illness can be avoided and complete recovery may take place.

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