Businesses urged to lead the change

Beautiful Minds founder Sandra McDonald. Picture: Chris Lane
Beautiful Minds founder Sandra McDonald. Picture: Chris Lane

Beautiful Minds founder Sandra McDonald is challenging local businesses to take the first step and sponsor mental health recovery.

She said big businesses frequently made philanthropic donations to hospitals – like the recent $250,000 donation from the Paul Wakeling Motor Group to Campbelltown and Camden hospitals – but mental health units didn’t reap the benefits.

Beautiful Minds is currently raising money and awareness for the adolescent mental health unit Gna Ka Lun attached to Campbelltown Hospital and Mrs McDonald said it could desperately use an injection of funds.

“Why can’t mental health units have sponsors involved,” she asked.

“The mental health sector is always saying it doesn’t have enough money, so get a business plan, do things differently. “If it’s not working, why would you keep doing the same thing you’ve always done? That’s just dopey.

“I challenge our big businesses to support these places. The health department has got to come to the party and encourage businesses to do that.”

Mrs McDonald said businesses getting behind mental health recovery would help reduce the stigma around mental illness.

She said the more that can be done to normalise mental illness the better.

“If businesses supported mental health recovery it would drive down stigma immediately,” she said.

“If we put resources into mental health it will normalise it as being an illness that people manage – no different than diabetes.”

The South-Western Sydney Local Health District – which covers Bowral, Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool hospitals as well as those in Macarthur – has a $114 million budget for mental health services.

Mental health services director Dr Claire Jones said the district worked closely with government and non-government groups to provide mental health support.

She said donations from organisations went to the purchase of “valuable equipment and resources to enhance the quality of patient care”.

Donations can be made to the health district at swslhd.nsw.gov.au/donate.

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