What an amazing week at the International Assembly in Orlando, Florida, for more than 500 incoming District leaders across the globe.
Rotary International President-Elect, Gordon McInally, one of our own, has given us all a wonderful new theme to prepare for in the Rotary year 2023/24 – ‘Create Hope in the World’.
It is of course what Rotary does best – creating hope for mankind and for our planet now too thanks to our new Area of Focus, sustaining the environment. But in the wake of the pandemic, and recent turmoils the world over, we are now more united in our shared sense of purpose than ever.
We are #bettertogether.
All Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors, are being asked to put a renewed emphasis on our core mission of peace, “the soil in which hope takes root” as Gordon said.
We have done great work to support humanitarian relief efforts for Ukrainians and many others in the wake of war and conflict, but more is needed as peace starts from within. Mental health issues are ever more prevalent and yet there is still so much stigma associated with this topic worldwide.
As a network of 1.4 million members globally we have the purpose and passion to drive action towards a more hopeful future across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.”
President-Elect Gordon shared a very personal message in Orlando about losing someone close to him to suicide. No one saw this coming. His depression was kept totally hidden. Gordon and his wider family have lived with this for many years and understand first-hand how important it is to de-stigmatise mental illness so it is easier for sufferers to ask for help. I can also relate.
My own mother was diagnosed as a manic depressive which is now known as bipolar. She died at the age of 45 – way too young.
Last year Gordon became an Ambassador for Bipolar UK and Rotary GB&I has entered into a partnership with them, pledging to give support to earlier diagnosis and specialised treatment.
I was delighted to attend the parliamentary reception in November 2022 at the launch of the Bipolar Commission Report, along with several other Rotary leaders, to learn about the ways we can help and take action. See Bipolar UK’s website for more information.
There was a huge groundswell at the International Assembly that Rotary should be brave enough to address this important issue of mental health.
As a network of 1.4 million members globally we have the purpose and passion to drive action towards a more hopeful future across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.