Chinese company helping fight mental health problems in Australia

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-01 18:02:49|Editor: Tian Shaohui
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SYDNEY, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Leaders in Australia's business community met here on Monday for a forum aimed at improving mental health in the community.

The event, held by Lifeline, a suicide prevention advocacy group, examined new ways companies can look to innovate when it comes to issues of mental health.

At the forefront of the businesses is a Chinese property development outfit called Auswin TWT.

"We are in the process of trying to establish a new Chinese language-based service, including by text message," Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel told Xinhua.

"It's an interesting collaboration, the only reason we can do it is because we have significant support from the Chinese-owned property group."

"The Chinese-speaking community is growing significantly at the moment (in Australia) and at Lifeline we want to make sure that the services that we provide are open and available and accessible to everyone."

Shmigel said he recognized the unique challenges faced by the Chinese community in Australia and felt the answers to reaching people in the modern age lies with "new things and using technology pathways."

"It's a tough experience sometimes, the migration experience, social isolation, loneliness. We have to make sure we can meet those needs and do it in the languages that people speak."

Other sections of the Australian community that are most in need include those in regional areas, where the chance for self-harm is three times higher than those in cities.

Travis Dillon, managing director of Ruralco Holdings, a large Australian agribusiness, joined the initiative by Lifeline to help spread awareness of the issues facing rural communities and help get support for those most in need.

"For corporate Australia there is a role to play and we can't just rely on governments and the other health institutions and our hospitals and and GPs (General Practitioners)," Dillon said.

These sentiments were also echoed by Tanya Hosch, general manager of inclusion and social policy at the Australian Football League.

"Suicide prevention is a really important Australian issue and AFL is Australia's iconic game," Hosch told Xinhua.

"We reach millions of people every week with this game and we feel like it's an important issue for us to understand and to think about how we can engage and make a contribution to suicide prevention in our industry and also for other members of society."

The concept to include the wider business community in fighting mental illness is one that Shmigel believes is a must for Australia.

"If you are going to talk about the social causes (of mental health), you inevitably need to bring in the total society like businesses," Shmigel said.