The mental health policies of Australian federal governments, of both political persuasions, can only be described as abysmal.

Successive governments have announced reforms to the mental health system, promising radical changes.

Unfortunately, the end result seems to have achieved little. Politicians and mental health practitioners seem not to listen to the views of people who have had their loved ones taken away from them through suicide.

White Wreath Association does not receive any financial support from governments and relies on the generous public donations as we strive to achieve our ultimate goal of Safehaven Centres.

In fact, several years ago we were knocked back on a request for support from the state government.

Hope springs eternal, and we welcome the commitment of the new Tony Abbott Government to help young people facing mental health illness by establishing a National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health.

Mr Abbott announced an $18 million mental health policy, which includes clinical trials to find new treatments for mental health illness in young people; research programs seeking to reduce deliberate self-harm and suicide; training and support for 12,000 mental health clinicians and service planners by 2020; and 100 early psychosis and intervention centres nationally.

The policy also includes an assessment by the National Mental Health Commission on the effectiveness of all existing mental health programs in both government and non-government sectors.

I trust that in three years time I can report to you that these commitments have been achieved. Time will tell.

Many thanks to everyone who took part last month in “Sock It To Suicide Week”, raising funds in support of White Wreath Association and help us combat our high suicide rate.

I hope you all had fun wearing brightly-coloured socks/stockings to your workplace, school etc.

Many thanks also to the people who responded to the questionaire on whether we should continue with the Quarterly Newsletter. It was an overwhelming Yes.

As this is the last issue for the year, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Fanita Clark