credit to Michael Amendolia

Setting the mental health agenda

12 March 2024
Highlights from Sydney Ideas
Alastair Campbell spoke with leading experts on what can be done to influence social and political responses in mental health.

Led by host, Professor Ian Hickie AO, Co-Director, of Health and Policy at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, a global leader in mental health research and digital innovations in care.

Speakers were: 

Alastair Campbell who has emerged as a prominent advocate for mental health action around the world. 

The Hon. Minister Rose Jackson MLC

Business leader Sam Mostyn AO (Chair of Beyond Blue)

Youth mental health leaders Tanya Dearle and Zsofi de Haan

Why mental health matters

We’re facing a mounting crisis, with generational decline in the mental health of Australians. Every year in Australia there are over 65,000 suicide attempts, and over 3,000 deaths by suicide. And it’s getting worse. According to the World Health Organization, depression is set to surpass heart disease as the leading cause of global illness by 2030. We need to act now before we lose the next generation.

Despite these alarming trends, mental health receives a mere 2% of the global healthcare budget. Current spending on mental health prevention and treatment in Australia is less than a cup of coffee per person per day, leaving us with a stark disparity between awareness and funding.

I think at the moment one of the things has been we take a reactive approach...we need to take a preventative approach.
Zsofi de Haan

On demand

Sydney Ideas

On demand, Alistair Campbell: Setting the Mental Health Agenda


'Without community support for action, it's unlikely that there will be further action. The priorities, cost of living, intergenerational issues, housing...are huge.' 

'The reason why to me openness is so important is because it's only if we get the openness that we start to join the dots together. '

'Every person in this room, I'm sure, is only one family member, or one extended family member, away from a suicide.' 

'It frustrates me because chronic long-term homelessness caused by mental illness is absolutely something that we can do something about, and we know where to start, and yet governments have failed.' 

'I think at the moment one of the things has been we take a reactive approach...we need to take a preventative approach.'

'Digital interventions have a role in the future for intervening with mental health in young people.' 

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