Business leaders and philanthropists have taken to a new national crowdfunding campaign to lobby for better health services and support, according to newly established Not for Profit, Australians for Mental Health.
Australians for Mental Health said it had received a boost in its crowdfunding through the generosity of business leaders and community members including philanthropist and fund manager Geoff Wilson, the founder of Wilson Asset Management, who has donated $25,000.
Wilson recently founded Future Generation Global Investment Company, the first internationally focussed listed investment company to provide shareholders with diversified exposure to selected global fund managers while changing the lives of young Australians affected by mental illness.
The crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $43,000 so far.
The charity said the funds raised would back a national advocacy campaign to pressure all politicians to make mental health a key election issue and deliver on commitments.
It said currently, less than seven per cent of total health expenditure was dedicated to mental health, despite mental ill-health accounting for 14 per cent of Australia’s total health burden.
Philanthropist Geoff Wilson said that more needed to be done to address the issue.
“Australians deserve the same level of care for our mental health as our physical health,” Wilson said.
“We are determined to help transform mental health outcomes. Australia has access to world-class research, innovation and evidence-based approaches, yet these remain sorely underfunded and inaccessible to most people.
“By driving philanthropic investment, we can contribute to boosting community awareness, and support the rollout of effective programs and services.”
Australians for Mental Health Founding Association Member, Minto Felix, said the donation from Wilson Asset Management demonstrated great corporate leadership in supporting mental health in Australia.
“To date, support for the campaign has been strong and it’s pleasing to see the corporate sector getting behind the initiative. With donations such as these we are well placed to make an impact with this campaign and advocate for real change,” Felix said
“In addition to private donations, we’ve received more than $16,000 from community members, and more than 20 national and state mental health organisations including Orygen, Young and Well CRC, SANE Australia and Black Dog Institute, are backing the initiative.”
Australians for Mental Health is an Incorporated Association governed by five founding members, including former Australian of the Year, Professor Patrick McGorry AO, Claire Middleton OAM, Associate Professor Jane Burns, Minto Felix, Liz Agostino and Jeff Browne.