Ray Martin: Mental health stigma in elderly needs to change
ONE of Australia's leading journalists yesterday spoke out about mental health in Australia's elderly population at the Unleash the Beast wellbeing symposium in Toowoomba.
Ray Martin, known for his work on A Current Affair and 60 Minutes, was one of about 60 speakers who travelled to Toowoomba for the event, organised by Lifeline.
"I was speaking to a local mental health worker who was telling me how we still treat it like it's one of those no-go zones," Mr Martin said.
"You can have cancer and be under treatment and keep a job, but if you have schizophrenia and are under treatment you'll probably lose your job. We have this attitude that needs to change."
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Mr Martin hosted a session as part of the symposium on mental health issues in the retired and elderly population.
"You reached the stage of life for men and women where you think your productive days are over," he said.
"But they're not, you're more important than that.
"Your CV says you've done all these things, you've done a job for 40 years, you raised children, you paid off a house, you worked at a school tuckshop, these things are important in our lives and are hard to do. You've done a lot in life and are capable of doing more.
"Tell yourself that you are a valuable member of society and you're not ready for the rubbish basket yet."
He said advice from a prominent figure on how the achieve good mental health had stuck with him through the years.
"Do things that you love, that was David Attenborough's advice to me," he said.