On behalf of the National Council of Women of Victoria (NCWV), I applaud the Andrews’ Government calling for a Royal Commission to report on the state of Mental Health within the State of Victoria. I thank the Commission for giving NCWV the opportunity to make a submission at this late date. NCWV is an NGO representing some 30 like-minded NGOs and a similar number of Individual members whose purposes are to:
- provide a non-party political, non-sectarian, not-for-profit, umbrella organisation with broadly humanitarian and educational objectives, empowering women and girls and raising awareness of gender equality;
- act as a voice on issues and concerns of women and girls at a State level;
- develop policies and responses on behalf of women and girls on a State-wide basis;
- maintain and strengthen the Association’s relationship with all members;
- link with women in Australia and the International Council of Women (ICW-CIF) through the National Council of Women of Australia and contribute to the implementation of their plans of action and policies.
With these purposes in mind, NCWV acknowledges good mental health is essential for good general wellbeing of the community. It is concerned about the general well-being of people, particularly women and girls; It was not until 2011 that the importance of good mental health was fully recognised globally and firmly placed on the agenda of the United Nations and its agencies. An ICW-CIF Representative to the UN was one of those advocating for such recognition. It is pleasing to see the importance of mental health being recognised, but sadly the general care of those suffering from mental illness requires review and the need for the stigma to be removed. This came through in an MSO film clip/documentary, “A dangerous son”, made in the US by producer Liz Garbus for Firecracker, shown by QANTAS in September 2019. With a grandson on the Autism spectrum I, the author of this submission could relate to much of the documentary.