Discussing common mental health issues

December 12, 2014 by Rachel Mihalovich
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The Rabbinical Council of Victoria has hosted a Community Reference Group (CRG) forum which discussed issues relating to Mental Health Awareness.

Rabbi Dovid Gutnick, Bishop Philip Huggins, Cassandra Berrett,  Imam Riad

Rabbi Dovid Gutnick, Bishop Philip Huggins, Cassandra Berrett, Imam Riad Galil, Rabbi Shamir Caplan

The CRG consists of faith leaders from the broader Victorian Community who gather on a regular basis to discuss and share thoughts and ideas in relation to some of the contemporary social challenges facing the Victorian Community where input and guidance from religious leadership would be of benefit.

Cassandra Barrett, Jewish Care Mental Health Promotion Resource Officer, addressed the forum on the nature of mental health and mental ill-health in Australia, including the prevalence and symptoms of common mental health issues and the importance of mental health awareness and stigma reduction, and its relevance for faith communities. Cassandra noted that “mental health awareness is an important topic for faith communities, and having leaders such as these who are well-informed and dedicated makes an enormous difference in helping to improve the wellbeing and quality of life for all community members.”

The group discussed ways in which religious leaders can have an impact in, and respond to, the needs of their communities and explored avenues for further training and resources.

“I was thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with faith leaders to explore different ways of promoting open and honest communication about this very real issue, in order to help increase mental health awareness across their respective communities” said Cassandra.

RCV President Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick expressed the RCV’s appreciation for the support of OMAC and the Minister for Multicultural affairs who made this project possible. “The RCV takes pride in their leading role of multicultural engagement between various faith communities and is assured that the combined efforts of all participants have led to a more harmonious and integrated society for the betterment of all Victorians” said Rabbi Gutnick.


2 Responses to “Discussing common mental health issues”
  1. Harold A. Maio says:

    —-stigma reduction

    Jews directing a “stigma?” I can think of nothing more contradictory. I hear 6,000,000 voices moaning.

  2. Michael Barnett says:

    I would hope the RCV are serious about this issue, because they need to understand this:

    “Similarly, those belonging to religious faiths that promulgate negative discourses about homosexuality are particularly vulnerable to suicide and self-harm. Conflicts between spiritual or religious beliefs and sexuality can result in significant psychological dissonance as well as division and exclusion from family, friends and community.

    For many, these experiences manifest in deep feelings of self-loathing and hatred that, in turn, severely elevate the risk of suicide and self-harm”

    Suicide Prevention Australia
    Position Statement – Mental Illness and Suicide – June 2009

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