The Chris Barrett Foundation is a not for profit charity that has been formed by the family and friends of a 16 year old that died from mental illness. Chris had been diagnosed with early psychosis and on medication for 10 days when he took his own life on March 5th 2010.
The aim of the foundation is to increase community awareness and acceptance of mental illness with a particular emphasis on youth onset. We hope that decreasing the stigma associated with mental illness, and making the community more aware of the symptoms will result in early intervention and a decrease in the number of young lives lost to suicide. On March 3rd we are once again holding a fun-day to raise awareness of Youth Mental Health. We have held a similar day in March since 2011, raising around $8,000 which has been donated to Peninsula Headspace. This year the day has a masquerade theme to celebrate the official formation of the foundation in conjunction with our logo.
So why the mask? Within some of Chris’ writing he had written “my mask is only made of paper but “Sam’s” (not real name) is much stronger and made of steel” The aim of the Chris Barrett Foundation is to:
- To encourage young people with mental illness to allow others behind “the mask”. To not be afraid to confide in family and friends and to seek professional help as early as possible.
- To raise community awareness of the symptoms of mental illness so that others will see through “the mask” and recognise the onset at an early stage.
- To decrease the stigma associated with mental illness by increasing community awareness and acceptance so that young people will not be afraid to seek help. Ie to remove the “mask” that society has over mental illness. Mental illness should not be any different to a physical illness.