Newest Life in Mind Champion, Christopher Banks has spent over a decade working in the mental health sector in both Australia and New Zealand. As Beyond Blue's Suicide Prevention Project Manager, Christopher’s chief responsibilities include implementing Beyond Blue's suicide prevention strategy and management of the Beyond Now suicide safety planning app.
Prior to this, in New Zealand he worked in a range of areas including mental health peer support, multimedia communications, development and implementation of social marketing, health promotion and suicide prevention initiatives.
The Life in Mind team asked Christopher to share some insights on the National Communications Charter (The Charter) and what it means to be one of the Champions leading its dissemination.
Why did Beyond Blue sign The Charter?
Language is important. Research shows that while many Australians would like to help someone they know who may be suicidal, some stay silent out of concern about saying the wrong thing. Those at risk of suicide sometimes misinterpret their feelings and behaviours, particularly men, and don’t seek help until they’re in crisis. The Charter supports early intervention by improving mental health literacy and giving the public greater confidence in talking about suicide safely.
What led you to work in this space?
Like many, I have been touched by personal experiences with mental ill-health and suicide both personally and within my family and friendship groups. It’s important that this work is informed by a combination of evidence and lived experience.
What does being a Life in Mind Champion mean to you?
The chance to be part of a collective response to stigma reduction and improved help-seeking by shaping how we talk as a community about mental health and suicide.
To download The Charter and become a signatory, visit https://lifeinmind.org.au/the-charter
Beyond Blue exists to create change to protect all Australian’s mental health and improve the lives of individuals, families and communities affected by anxiety, depression and suicide. We want to equip them with the skills they need to look after their own mental health and wellbeing, and to create confidence in their ability to support those around them.
Our vision is for everyone in Australia to achieve their best possible mental health. Through our support services, programs, research, advocacy and communication activities, we’re breaking down the stigma, prejudice and discrimination that act as barriers to people reaching out for support.
Life in Mind has a comprehensive list of national resources, information and services available to support the mental health and wellbeing of those impacted by COVID-19. Visit www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/support-for-those-impacted-by-adverse-events/mental-health-support-for-covid-19