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  • ABC to put mental health in spotlight

    Author: AAP

Rove McManus says the more people talk about mental illness the better equipped society is to help and he is supporting the ABC's Mental As TV initiative.

Comedian Rove McManus and Studio 10 presenter Jessica Rowe have ditched their network allegiance to support the ABC in a mental health week initiative.

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The ABC is launching Mental As..., the network's biggest cross-platform programming event, for Mental Health Week starting on October 5.

Network Ten personalities Rowe and McManus, who is co-hosting Ten's The Project until the end of the year, are among a number of Australian identities to get behind Mental As....

Designer and Australia's Next Top Model judge Alex Perry, singer-songwriter Missy Higgins and actors Deborah Mailman, Shane Jacobsen and Justine Clarke are among those trying to raise awareness of the health issue.

Rove says the more people talk about mental illness the better equipped society is to help those who are suffering.

"The isolation, fear and stigma around mental illness is the first thing that needs to go and the ABC's Mental As... initiative is a great, practical way to help," he said in a statement.

Higgins says: "Mental illness is something that I, my family and countless close friends have struggled with over the years. It is one of the most common, yet most untalked-of, things in our society and that has to change."

The ABC will tackle mental health across its TV, radio, online and mobile platforms, and approach the subject from all angles and perspectives.

It will use comedy, documentary and entertainment to help join the dots on mental health in Australia.

The week will end in a two-hour, live, TV fundraising event, Friday Night Crack Up on World Mental Health Day, on Friday, October 10, hosted by Offspring actor Eddie Perfect.

ABC director of TV Richard Finlayson says mental health challenges are huge and touch so many Australian families, yet we there's still a lack of open discussion on the subject.

"Mental As... programming will challenge stigmas and taboos; promote discussion, support and education; and inspire Australia to donate to mental health research," he said.

*Mental As... starts on Sunday, October 5 on the ABC Network.

Copyright AAP 2014


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