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'Million Likes' Facebook Campaign goes online at beyondblue AFL Cup

beyondblue is enlisting an army of supporters to combat stigma with an innovative social media campaign

The new campaign aims to enlist 1 million Australians as Facebook fans of beyondblue to get people talking about depression and anxiety, increase awareness and understanding, and end discrimination and stigma.

The campaign is being launched at this Friday’s beyondblue Cup between AFL clubs Hawthorn and Geelong, who are contesting the Cup for the seventh consecutive year in support of people with depression and anxiety.

“Our goal is big, but so is the problem. One million Australians at any given time are living with depression. Once we have reached ‘1 million likes’, we will aim for another two million to represent those Australians living with anxiety,” beyondblue CEO, Kate Carnell AO said.

“As a society with an unacceptably high suicide rate, it is imperative that we talk about depression and anxiety, debunk myths, share stories, educate people about signs and symptoms, and encourage people to seek help sooner rather than later.”

Ms Carnell said that only 35 per cent of people with depression and/or anxiety access professional help, with stigma being a major barrier to accessing care.

“Not receiving treatment increases the impact and disability of these conditions and is also associated with increased risk of suicide. Only yesterday, one of our Facebook supporters shared her story about the suicides of her father and brother and said it was amazing how sharing her story online started people talking, asking questions and opening up.”

“With one in three Australians experiencing depression and/or anxiety at some point in their life, it is very likely that either you or someone in your social media network may need information or help. Social media channels, including Twitter which we also recently launched, are enabling beyondblue to increase the reach of our messages and engage with the community in a very immediate and personal way,” Ms Carnell said.

She said the beyondblue Cup was an ideal opportunity to launch the campaign in front of 80,000 football fans who already know what a difference a strong support base can make. The campaign is also being kicked off with the opportunity to win a signed and framed Hawthorn or Geelong football jumper.

Hawks’ Captain Luke Hodge said: “We are proud to be partnered with such an important organisation and enjoy doing our bit to help reduce the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety in our community.”

Geelong Cats Captain Joel Selwood said: “We are proud to play for the beyondblue cup against the Hawks to raise awareness about depression and mental health. We want the opportunity to let our supporters know how important it is to seek help and talk to someone if you’re feeling depressed.”

Event: Seventh Annual AFL beyondblue Cup – Hawthorn v Geelong at MCG

Time/Date: 7.50 pm on Friday, 3 August 2012