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Breakthrough Round tackles mental health

The Club is proud to support Breakthrough to conduct research to better understand mental health and help improve the quality of life of all South Australians.
Crows Head of Football and Breakthrough Ambassador Brett Burton

Adelaide will meet Carlton this Saturday, May 5 at Adelaide Oval in the inaugural Breakthrough Round to raise awareness about the importance of mental health research for creating a life free from mental illness.

Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation was recently launched by Flinders Foundation, in a partnership with the South Australian Mental Health Commission, Adelaide Football Club and Flinders University.

Breakthrough will support research to find the causes and triggers of mental illness, help people to recognise the early warning signs, guide the development of new technology, and make sure that mental health treatment is based on the best scientific evidence.

Breakthrough Ambassador and Crows Head of Football Brett Burton said mental illness was one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime and the Club had a unique opportunity to influence social change.

“We have partnered with Breakthrough because mental health is so important, not only to our football club but to the wider community,” Burton said.

“As a leader at the Crows and father of four children, it is important for me to be the best version of myself and to do that I need to be in a healthy state of mind.

“The Club is proud to support Breakthrough to conduct research to better understand mental health and help improve the quality of life of all South Australians.”

Breakthrough Chief Executive Officer Amanda Shiell said the Adelaide Crows partnership will help to position South Australia as leaders in mental health research and create a better state of mental health in the community.

“There are wonderful services supporting people with mental illness and raising awareness about mental health, but Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation will tackle mental health ‘head on’,” she said.

“We are not winning the battle against mental health and we can’t wait any longer to do something about it – we need to find new ways to take action and prevent people from reaching crisis point in the future.

“Mind and brain research is the only way to know what action needs to be taken to create a life free from mental illness.

“One in two Australian adults will experience a mental illness in their lifetime and right now, one in five Australians has a mental health issue.

“More people between 15-44 years are dying from suicide than any other cause and this is not acceptable.

“No other illness or disease affects the population at such scale – it’s time to understand why or how it happens and how we are going to stop it.”

South Australian Mental Health Commissioner Chris Burns CSC said South Australia has a unique opportunity to develop a mental health research strategy for the state, reducing the impact for one in two Australian adults who will experience mental illness in their lifetime.

“A research strategy for mental health in South Australia would see our state leading the nation and Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation is the vehicle we need to deliver the evidence which can change mental health policy, practice and ultimately the way we care for people with mental illness,” Chris said.

“Without research we would not have made advancements in heart disease and cancer and we need to invest in mental health research to save people from experiencing the devastating effects of mental illness.”

Flinders University has thrown its internationally renowned reputation as a leading research institution behind Breakthrough.

Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation has the potential to transform how communities address mental health issues here and globally.

“Breakthrough will support Flinders University to establish a flagship mental health research institute and be a national leader in this important field,” Professor Stirling said

“From our highly regarded psychology research, though to our cutting-edge digital health initiatives, Flinders is already making a difference to people’s health and wellbeing. The institute will help coordinate our focus on early intervention by identifying and addressing the causes of mental health issues.

“The establishment of Breakthrough provides a clear means for people to directly support the life-changing research that matters to them.”

Some of the world’s leading mental health experts such as Professor Ian Hickie, one of Australia’s first National Mental Health Commissioners, will form an advisory group for Breakthrough and work together with the South Australian Mental Health Commission to determine areas of need.

A Research Committee will review applications and allocate funding to ground breaking mental health research projects that will have global impacts.

Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation has identified several projects that can kick start its research focus to creating a life free from mental illness, including investigating the genetic triggers for eating disorders and the development of digital technology to monitor mental health on smart phones.

The effectiveness of wellbeing and resilience programs and a new research focused approach to tackling bullying in schools can also be some of the first Breakthrough projects, but this and more will only be possible through donations made to Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation.

Breakthrough has launched a fundraising campaign to raise vital funds for mental health research. SMS ‘Tackle’ to 0437 371 371 to donate to Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation or visit breakthroughfoundation.org.au

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs