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'Spend more' on mental health

Wednesday, 11th August, 2010

* GetUp members and concerned locals at the candle lit vigil yesterday evening. The main aim was to bring attention to mental health issues. * GetUp members and concerned locals at the candle lit vigil yesterday evening. The main aim was to bring attention to mental health issues.

Despite the cold and wet start yesterday a dedicated group of people still turned out to express their political opinions on the lack of mental health funds.

A small group attended the candle light vigil in Town Square yesterday evening to express their thoughts and concerns on the issues of mental health.
A web-based lobby group, GetUp, has given locals a way to express their opinions by holding a candle light vigil. GetUp is a political internet based lobby group focussing on the important issues.
Hugh Gough, a member of the group, said the vigil was about attempting to draw attention to the significant under-funding of mental health issues.
Mr Gough, a bed and breakfast owner, developed an interest in the group because he believes it is a good way to get your voice heard.
"It's really good for people to be able to express their views on popular issues without too much effort," Mr Gough said.
GetUp's silent vigil highlighted local issues, including the economy, immigration and climate change, to those running for the electorate of Farrer at the upcoming Federal Election.
GetUp's total membership is 375,000 people across Australia.
"... As such it represents a high proportion of public opinion," Mr Gough said.
Mr Gough was pleased by the turnout from the community but was upset to see that none of the candidates for Farrer attended the event.
"(I'm) delighted with the turnout ... I thought I would be the only candle in the square," Mr Gough said.
"We're saddened by the lack of politicians ...  and we suggest it's time to take notice."
"If politicians want to keep their snout in the trough they better pay attention to GetUp."
The event was held throughout Australia with other GetUp groups "doing the same thing" according to Mr Gough.
Mr Gough said 45 per cent of the total population in Australia were affected by mental health issues.
According to the Mental Health Council of Australia almost half the population experience a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime.
Mr Gough put it out there for all politicians that it is time "look after those people".
Mr Gough said the vocal point of the issue was mental health and locals who attended the vigil were trying to push for a change.
Another issues was also addressed, which Mr Gough felt strongly about and that was being enrolled to vote.
Mr Gough said there are 1.4 million eligible voters who are not enrolled to vote and that this is another of GetUp's focus points.
"Even an invalid vote has a purpose ... it shows that you are not happy with something," he said.

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