Monday, 30 May 2022

Rod and I warmly welcome the Breakthrough community to Government House this evening.  We are delighted jointly to be taking on the role of patrons of Breakthrough Mental Health Foundation.

It is not just a pleasure.  Because mental health is one of the most pressing issues of our time, affecting as many as one in five Australians at some stage of their lives, we consider it a responsibility too.

Nine Australians die every day by suicide, which is more than double the road toll.

Supporting the mental health of all South Australians is one of Rod’s and my shared priorities during my term as Governor.

We know there are protective factors that make us more resilient and can reduce risk to our mental health.

These include supportive social relationships, a sense of control, a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, family harmony, effective help-seeking and positive interactions with health services.

Increasingly, people are asking why there are such high rates of mental illness in our community?

While we have made some progress, including making it easier for people to talk about their mental health and seek help, there is certainly more to be done, and we will both take all appropriate opportunities to encourage this.

In April Rod and I visited the Breakthrough headquarters to meet with staff and to learn more about your work and goals.

This visit reinforced for us the vital role that research has played, and must continue to play, in finding answers to why mental health issues are at crisis point in our community, and what can be done to address them.

By investigating causes and investing in early interventions, we can truly make a difference.

As the foundation says, collaboration is the key to breakthroughs, and we thank all of Breakthrough’s partners who are here this evening, including university partners, corporate supporters and community fundraisers.

A number of the research grants being acknowledged tonight are awarded in honour of these fundraisers and supporters, as we will hear shortly.

Of course, no breakthrough would be possible without the vision and dedication of our researchers, who we have gathered to honour this evening.

I congratulate all the scientists involved in the 18 research projects, research fellowships and research PhDs who, collectively, have received $1 million in grant funding from the foundation.

I have no doubt you will make great strides with your projects as you endeavour to understand further how we can improve youth and indigenous mental health and alleviate depression and eating disorders.

Congratulations to all our grant recipients.  Rod and I look forward to supporting Breakthrough as it pursues its ambitious goal of helping South Australians – and indeed all Australians – to live lives free from mental illness.