17 Mar, 2017 Last updated: 20 Mar, 2017

Cultural Diversity Week (18-26 March) an opportunity to celebrate Victoria’s vibrant multiculturalism.

First published in the Sunraysia Daily, 17 March 2017.

Victoria is renowned for its diversity but we can’t take it for granted. It’s up to all of us to make our State an accepting and welcoming place. Racial discrimination is never acceptable – it has a negative impact on our communities and our health. 

Discrimination can increase our stress, anxiety and the risk of mental health problems. It can also reduce opportunities for employment, education and social participation.

While mental health has been in the limelight a lot lately, with some great work being done nationally to address ill-health, our focus at VicHealth is to foster good mental wellbeing – ideally before mental health problems have taken their toll.

Sadly one in four young Australians currently experience a mental illness. Mental illness costs Victoria $5.4 billion each year through lost productivity, health and social costs.

However an easy way we can all help to improve mental wellbeing in the community is by bringing people together to celebrate and share our culture – whatever that might be.

During Cultural Diversity Week make sure there’s a place in your community for everyone, regardless of their race or ethnic background.

Be inclusive. One conversation, or even just a smile, could make a huge difference to someone else’s wellbeing.

- Jerril Rechter
VicHealth CEO