SOUTH-WEST Victorian mental health advocate John Parkinson says Australia Day is an opportunity to reflect on what life is really about.
The Let's Talk co-founder was one of more than 5000 people around the country nominated for an Australian of the Year award.
The theme of Australia Day 2021 is 'Reflect, Respect and Celebrate' and Mr Parkinson said it was important to stop and evaluate what was important in life.
"Most people would say it is about family, it's not about the stuff, it's about the experiences and who we share them with," he said.
He said individuals needed to take steps to look after their mental health. "People need to do the one per centers, like going for a walk, getting out in nature and talking to family," he said.
"We're so oriented with the problem. We get little feedback when things are going good. There will always be problems. We need to shift that to the word reflection and look at what is going good."
Mr Parkinson said it was also important to acknowledge and celebrate Indigenous people. "It goes back 40,000 years, that is worth celebrating," he said.
About 130 people have been selected as state and territory finalists with many everyday heroes nominated by someone in their community or field of endeavour.
Award organiser, the National Australia Day Council, is celebrating all those who were nominated by highlighting their contributions.
Australian Community Media, publisher of this masthead, is media partner of the 2021 Australian of the Year Awards, which will be announced on ABC TV on January 25 at 7.30pm.