HEALTHY Minds Horsham committee member Gavin Morrow believes more could be done to target mental illness in the Wimmera.
He said the issue of mental illness continued to grow each year.
Healthy Minds Horsham works to help people in the region deal with mental health issues.
Mr Morrow said he was pleased to read that Villa Maria had received $1.05 million in Federal Government funding for the Mental Health Respite: Carer Support Program.
The program targets carers in Ararat, Horsham, Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh and West Wimmera.
But Mr Morrow said more needed to be done.
“The Wimmera, along with Australia, has lost funding,’’ he said.
“The need is becoming greater every year.’’
Mr Morrow’s comments come after a Youth Mental Health Report, published by Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute, found young women were almost twice as likely as men to meet the criteria for having a serious mental illness.
The report found body image was a particular concern for young women meeting the criteria for having a mental illness, with 66 per cent citing they were very or extremely concerned about body image.
Women’s Health Victoria executive director Rita Butera said negative body image was a risk factor for disordered eating and could lead to eating disorders in young women.
She said a targeted approach to prevention of mental illness and eating disorders was urgently required.
Mr Morrow agreed.
“If these statistics are correct and there are young people out there suffering depression because of body image, that’s disturbing,’’ he said.
“It certainly doesn’t surprise me, but in the people we’re speaking to we haven’t come across it.
“It’s a bit of a sad statistic.’’
Mr Morrow said Healthy Minds more often dealt with people who had lost someone to suicide, or people who cared for those with depression.
The group also works with people with depression and family members of those who showed signs of the illness but would not seek help.
Healthy Minds will welcome a general practitioner from Melbourne in August as part of a public event.
Mr Morrow said the practitioner would talk to people with depression about how they could improve their lives.