According to WayAhead, “Connecting with others is important for all aspects of our health and wellbeing. Research tells us that feeling connected with others gives us a sense of security, support, purpose and happiness. Close connections and good relationships with others help us enjoy good times in our lives as well as cope with difficult experiences. Many of us report feeling lonely and believe loneliness is increasing in Australia. For those experiencing or living with mental illness, loneliness can have an even bigger impact, especially when you factor in the added experiences of social exclusion and stigma. Share the Journey is all about ways we can connect with others, both for our own health and wellbeing, as well as theirs.”
– One in five Australians aged 16-85 years experience a mental illness, the most common being depressive, anxious or substance abuse based illnesses.
– 54% of those with a mental illness do not access treatment. This is approximately half compared to those seeking treatment for a physical disorder. However, Australians are more likely to die by suicide than skin cancer.
– Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians 25-44 years of age and men are at greatest risk of suicide but the least likely to seek support.
Thanks to Black Dog Institute for the facts and figures on Mental Health.
Why are the rates of seeking help so low in mental health?
– There is a negative stigma attached to those who have a mental illness and those who need to access treatment. The labels often attached to those with a mental rather than physical illness can delay or deter much needed support.
– It is important to ensure stigma or judgement from others does not stop you from seeking the help that you both need and deserve.
– It is also crucial to be mindful of how you speak about mental illness, are you illustrating a positive, non-judgmental perspective towards those who are struggling? Or are you making jokes or insults at their expense? Due to mental health having little to no physical symptoms, it is difficult to know who will be sensitive to the stigma you verbalise.
For more information on stigma, visit Self Reflections recent blog post.
How to seek support
If you are feeling depressed, anxious, stressed, angry or just a little off you can access a range of support in your local community. Self Reflections has produced a detailed guide on how to seek treatment. Click here for more information.
How to help someone else
If you notice one of your friends, family or colleagues may be struggling or showing signs of mental illness it is important to not disregard it.
– Start the conversation – in a private and appropriate setting ask the person that you have noticed their behaviour is a little different to usual and you are available to talk
– Refer onto professional help – suggest to the person to seek help from a professional and offer your support through the process eg drive them to their first session or assist them in the search for a suitable psychologist
– Continue to check in – the road to recovery is a marathon not a sprint. Therefore it is important that support is given to a person to encourage them to continue their treatment
– Open up the dialogue – in your friendship group encourage conversations about mental illness and treatment, just like you would for a physical injury and going to a specialist to recover.
How to help your community
Get involved in various workshops or events to show your support and raise awareness
– Art Workshops at West Illawarra
– Walk or Run in the “Exercise Your Moonwalk”
– Visit “The Big Anxiety” Art gallery
Donate money or time to organisations that focus on mental health
Participate in scientific research to assist in the understanding and treatment of mental illness
If this Mental Health Month you’d like to access support, Self Reflections is here to help you transition to a healthier, happier mindset. To book, please call 02 4288 4157 or use our online booking portal.
If there is anything you think was important to add into this weeks’ blog that was not included, want to share your story, or if there’s a topic you’d like us to cover, we’d love to hear from you!
Wishing you all a lovely week, from the team at Self Reflections.
This week’s blog was based on information found in all the mentioned sources above. Follow the links for more information.