Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week is a national week celebrated around Australia annually. Kick-starting with World Mental Health Day on October 10, the week aims to shine a spotlight on individual and community mental health and wellbeing. In addition, the awareness week aims to break down the stigma associated with mental illness.

Regardless of whether you may have experienced mental illness or not, Mental Health Week is about encouraging us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, and make this our main priority. With the current global situation and uncertainty that comes from it, it’s more important now than ever to take care of our own mental health, and help those closest to us and in our community.

Mental illness is very common, with one in five Australians aged 16-85 experiencing it. The most common mental illnesses are depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder. Of those who experience a mental illness, 54% will go without any access to treatment. There’s a whole list of reasons why people don’t have access to the treatment they need. It could be that they fear it or are ashamed, they may have limited awareness, have practical barriers, or they may just not know how to address the problem. This is why it is so critical to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and raise awareness for the cause. This will help others to help themselves.

Generally, each year people across different communities come together to celebrate Mental Health Week through events, conversations and activities. Approaches to these may be a little different this year, in light of the public health and safety guidelines surrounding the pandemic. This all depends on the varying stages of different states and territories, and the guidelines surrounding community events. Some events may be reduced or cancelled, some may move to online platforms, or some may be unaffected. Check in with your local Mental Health Week organiser for all the up to date information!

Although there may be very few large-scale events happening this year, getting involved can still benefit the mental health of yourself and those around you. Smaller and digitalised events assist in providing information about mental health and wellbeing services, which can benefit many. They also help us to make connections with partners and local communities, celebrate individuals who make our communities unique, and encourage
help-seeking and self-care.

What is important to remember is that even though the way we celebrate Mental Health Week this year may change; some things still remain the same. There will always be someone to ask for help when times are tough. There will always be someone willing to listen. We are here for you during the good times and the rough times