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Celebrating International Day of People with Disability
International Day of People with Disability is next week, on Friday 3 December. It’s an important day to celebrate the contributions and achievements of people with disability.
This year’s theme is: “Leadership and Participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world”. For more information see: https://www.idpwd.com.au/
This theme resonates with our strategic goals at Mental Health Australia to promote a national voice for people with lived experience of mental ill-health and those who love and care for them. Lived experience participation and leadership is vital to building the mental health system we need: one that’s truly person-led.
Although their strides have not always been fully recognised, lived experience leaders have accomplished so much. Waves of advocacy have exposed abuses in the mental health system, called for greater human rights protection, promoted the idea of recovery, challenged stereotypes and assumptions about mental ill-health held by those within the system and the general public, and have built resources for peer-based care and grassroots supports.
As we celebrate International Day of People with Disability, we also acknowledge the work that still needs to be done to support our communities. One area Mental Health Australia has been active in is advocating for the rights of people with psychosocial disability to be recognised and better reflected in National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) policy.
One of our recent policy submissions highlights concerns regarding insufficient availability of psychosocial supports outside the NDIS; interface and boundary issues between the NDIS and clinical mental health, employment and housing service systems; and points to ongoing reforms required to improve the delivery of recovery-oriented psychosocial support services through the NDIS.
More broadly, we all need to work together to remove barriers for the 4.4 million Australians with disability so that everyone can participate and feel included in our community. For those looking to become allies, you can educate yourself on disability and ableism. Learn about why accessibility is so important and what you can do to make your organisation and community more accessible. This TED talk by the incredible, late Stella Young is a good place to start.
We encourage everyone to get involved and join the celebration. Together, we can all take action to challenge stereotypes, remove barriers and promote inclusive and respectful attitudes and behaviours in our community.
Have a great weekend.
Dr Leanne Beagley