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The Facts


of diagnosable mental illness onsets between the ages of 11 and 14.

1 in 7

children between the ages of 4 and 7 has experienced a mental health issue in Australia.

A child’s friend is their first responder when they are dealing with a mental health issue.

We want our grandchildren to understand mental health and have the tools to help themselves or someone else if they need to.

– Linda

Linda and Andrew grew up in a small town before moving to the city. Three children, three dogs, two overseas moves and three grandchildren later – to Hugh, Harper and Pippa – their role as grandparents has been the most important and magical experience of their lives.

“We want to be role models for our grandchildren and teach them that their feelings are valid, “ Linda says. “There’s a wealth of information available now that wasn’t around when we were growing up about how to talk about mental health.”

That’s why children’s mental health programs are so important, because we know through research that early intervention works. 

– Andrew

“We knew of things that happened, but no one ever spoke about them. That was a generational thing, but more so a lack of understanding of the impacts. The conversations I have with my grandchildren are very different to the conversations I had with my own parents or even children,” Andrew says. “One in five Australians is diagnosed with a mental health issue which is staggering. We have to change these statistics. There needs to be effective services to support people, but we need research to go back to the beginning to look at how and why these things are happening.”

Did you know 50% of diagnosable mental illness onsets between the ages of 11 and 14?

That’s why we need your help, to invest in mental health research today. With Christmas upon us, it’s time to reflect on the year and align with our hopes for 2022 and beyond. Our focus is children’s mental health – we hope yours is too.

We now know that a child’s friend is their first responder when they are dealing with a mental health issue.

About one in seven children between the ages of four and seven has experienced a mental health issue in Australia. Some of the common issues include:

  • Relationship problems (family, peers)
  • Eating or body image issues
  • Bullying (including cyber bullying)
  • Abuse (physical, emotional or sexual)
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Worry or anxiety
  • Self-harm or suicide

Andrew and Linda both believe research into mental health is the way in which we can ensure the wellbeing of our children as they grow up, particularly during the Covid-era of lockdowns and restrictions.

That’s why Breakthrough and Little Heroes Foundation are funding the Big Talks for Little People program.

This groundbreaking program is a mental health and emotional literacy program that incorporates early intervention and prevention strategies that help equip children with the tools to ensure their wellbeing and resilience as they get older.

The first phase of the pilot program, launched this year, saw a reduction in bullying at schools by up to 25 per cent.

Find out more about the program here.

We need to continue to develop not only the Big Talks program and roll it out across more schools and sporting clubs, but also children’s mental health initiatives where no child is disadvantaged and can get the support they need. 

We really need your help. 

Only research into early intervention and prevention strategies will help us to normalise the mental health conversation from a younger age. Change the lives of kids like Hugh, Harper and Pippa by giving them the tools to navigate the challenges that life throws at them. 

Together, we can create a life free from mental illness. Please give generously today.

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