There were hats aplenty at our club meeting on 11 October as we were joined by members of the Rotary Club of Gosnells for an evening of fun with a serious purpose.  It was Mental Health Week and our “Hats for Heads” party was all about raising awareness of mental health issues and at the same time raising funds for Australian Rotary Health’s mental health research programme.  Rotarians and partners racked their brains to answer a “hat quiz”, tested their hat-throwing skills and found themselves being fined for a whole variety of “misdemeanours”. 
Established in 1981, Australian Rotary Health has contributed more than $33 million towards health research projects in areas such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and spinal injury. Since 2000 ARH’s focus has been on mental health. More than four million Australians are affected by mental illness every year, while almost half of us will be affected in our lifetime. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 mental illness will be the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death in first world countries.
In recent years ARH has received hundreds of grant applications for research into mental health issues. Sadly, lack of funding has meant only 5% of those applications have received funding.
Photo left: Past President, Graham Sampson expresses his triumph at winning the "Throw the Hat Competition.