05 Sep 2018

Butterfly Foundation CEO on National Communications Charter Launch


Today saw the launch of the National Communications Charter for the suicide prevention sector, an initiative that aims to help organisations working in this space make a formal commitment to the way we communicate about suicide and mental health.

We saw the pens being put to paper by Minister Hunt and a number of our sector colleagues in a symbolic pledge to work together to safely communicate and seek out opportunities to collaborate when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention.

On the Charter launch, Everymind Director, Jaelea Skehan said, “What we say and how we say it matters. Signing The Charter is a way to demonstrate our commitment to working together to promote wellbeing, healing and recovery.”

Find out more about the Charter on the Life in Mind website.

So how do we live that promise as organisations and individuals working in this space?

I am very pleased to report that we are already seeing the Charter Principles working in practice through Love Your Body Week collaboration. It has been so motivating to see mental health colleagues standing together with business, community, media and social media organisations to highlight the need to change the conversation and take national action.

This week colleagues supported us to launch of the first national ‘Insights In Body Esteem’ Report produced by the Butterfly Research Institute with support from corporate partner Sportsgirl. As a result of this report, Instagram today launched the #ownyourfeed campaign to educate individuals on tools to communicate safely online.

The key findings set out in the Insights In Body Esteem report are very concerning and set the foundation for much needed change in Australia.

Shifting national conversation about body image is a huge undertaking that requires investment in stigma reduction and health promotion but, if we acknowledge the complexity of the problem and each play our part as individuals, it is more than achievable.

What we have heard loud and clear from our research is that words matter. How we speak about ourselves and others matters.

As part of Love Your Body Week I have repeatedly said that changing the conversation is not just about being kinder to ourselves and others. There are serious health ramifications if we do not challenge fundamental belief structures that are translating into nationwide body shape and size stigma.

Much like the ongoing purpose of the Charter, as individuals and organisations, we must look beneath the surface at how we can role model best practice in communication. Putting pen to paper means we are committing to a shared understanding in how we work together and talk about suicide prevention and mental health.

We may have to have some difficult conversations but today’s Charter and the collaborative efforts we have seen in support of Love Your Body Week show that we are up for the challenge!

Thank you to Minister Hunt, our sector colleagues, government, business and community for joining us to change this conversation as part of Love Your Body Week.

Find out more about Love Your Body Week at www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/love-your-body-week




If you, or anyone you know is experiencing an eating disorder or body image concerns, you can call the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (ED HOPE) or email support@butterfly.org.au or jump on our website to chat www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

Related tags: Love Your Body Week Mental Health Suicide Prevention