Monday, October 10, 2011

Mental health week and world mental health day

Last month, I blogged about Australia's Body Image and Eating Disorders Awareness week.

This week, we have Mental Health Week.

Running from the 9th to the 15th October, the week is intended to raise awareness around depression, anxiety and other mental health difficulties. It also aims to reduce the stigma that can still be associated with those difficulties.

The week coincides with World Mental Health day, which is today.

In Australia and other Western countries, one in five people will experience a mental health difficulty each year. Depression and anxiety are the most common, and it has been estimated that 45% of people will experience a depressive or anxiety disorder in their lifetime (Sane Australia).

Yes, 45%.

For some, these difficulties occur once, are relatively time-limited or are effectively treated, and don't have a long-term impact on functioning.

For others, mental health difficulties can be persistent and significant. Up to 15% of those affected by mental health difficulties die from suicide. Many never seek or receive specialist help. Myths around what mental illness is and how it develops can contribute to reluctance to acknowledge problems and seek assistance.

The reality is, difficulties like depression and anxiety can and do affect anyone. They can develop for lots of reasons. They are serious disorders, but they are not signs of weakness or failure. They may persist without help, but they can be effectively treated and managed.

This week, consider giving some thought to mental health. Remember that every second person you know may experience some form of mental health difficulty in their lifetime. One in five may be experiencing difficulties right now. Help raise awareness!

More information and/or support can be found at the following sites:
  • Beyond Blue, the Australian national depression initiative.
  • Sane Australia, an Australian national charity working for a better life for people with mental illness.
  • Lifeline, who offer a free 24 hour counselling and crisis call service (13 11 14 in Australia).

Is mental health something close to your heart? Do you relate to the statistics around the prevalence of mental health difficulties?


  1. Great post! I was severely depressed as a teen, and my maternal grandfather died from suicide when I was a kid (<-- Teaching me early on that suicide is not he answer!) I see a counselor now to deal with minor depression. Mental health is just as important as physical health!

  2. *hugs* Thanks lady. You know how important I think this is too :)

  3. Great post Kari. The more people that talk about these issues the better.
    No more shoving under the carpet.

  4. What a wonderful post! I am really lucky to have a workplace that is really aware and supportive of mental illness.

  5. Absolutely, mental health is just as important! I'm really glad you've been able to get the support you need, but am sorry to hear about your grandfather. I wish more people were able to get the help they need, when they need it.

  6. It's good to know there are others out there that do :)

  7. I have certainly known people with mental health issues. I think it is so important that we talk about it and remove some of the stigma. Thanks for this post, it was great.

  8. I have suffered from major depressive episodes in my life - I've been in "remission" for a while, but I'm pretty vigilant about keeping well these days.

  9. Thanks Lisa - I agree so much. Talking about things can make a bigger difference than we think.

  10. I'm so glad you're doing ok these days Liz. Congratulations on reaching where you are and learning what works for you - your blog certainly has tips for healthy living on all levels, mind included :) I'm sorry to hear some of it has come from difficult experiences but hope that the future will continue to be brighter and your healthy stance can inspire others too.

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