Mental health is so important for everyone and looking after our mental health should be a priority. With one in five people affected by mental illness in Australia, there is a chance you have interacted with someone who is struggling, has struggled in the past, or is in treatment. Today is World Mental Health Day, where awareness is raised around the world about mental health and wellbeing. People are encouraged to do something to help shed a more positive light on mental health and break the stigma so those affected can seek help.
These misconceptions and misunderstandings about mental illness are impacting those individual’s experiencing difficulties to go and seek support and causing them more damage. People affected may believe they are weak, strange, incompetent or a burden because they have a mental illness. Most of these believes are created by society, where at times people may turn away or avoid those who are showing difficulties, whether at home, school, work or in the community.
In reality, the majority of people affected by mental illness are able to lead normal independent lives and contribute to the community, with the right treatment and support - this is how we need to look at this.
As a community, we can help by removing the stigma and paying attention to those around us. Mental health checks are an important way to find out if someone may need some support. Some things to look out for are:
Sleep: Sleep helps restore the body and mind. Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much can interrupt this process, and it could also mean there are other things going on.
Nutrition: The food a person puts into their body can play an important role in maintaining mental health and wellbeing. Eating unhealthy foods which is out of the norm for the individual can also suggest other things going on.
Activity level: A person’s activity level can provide a picture of how they are feeling. Being physically active can also improve mood and reduce stress. Someone always sitting at home can suggest some issues.
Work stressors: Although work can make a person feel good and give a sense of purpose, asking about stressors at work can give an idea if something is going on.
Relationships: Spending time with people close is important. If a person starts to withdraw from family and friends, this can be an issue.
Life events: Part of life is experiencing ups and downs, some can affect a person more than others. Noticing changes and asking what has been happening is important.
Alcohol and drug use: Have there been more or inappropriate use of substances?
Grief and loss: It’s normal to feel sad during this period, having support is very important in order to ensure this does not lead to other difficulties.
Just ask: Simply asking your friend, family member, colleague, neighbour, or anyone you think is struggling, how they are doing and really show them you care, can allow them a safe place to open up and let you know if something is going on.
Our team at Melbourne Wellbeing Group thrives on promoting the mental health and wellbeing of people of all ages. If you or someone you know are having some struggles, give us a call to make an appointment with one of our team of Psychologists