Did you know that 1 in 5 Australians experience a mental health illness every year? And that half of our entire population will experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime?
This October is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s never been a more important time to talk about our mental health. We’ve all lived through a global pandemic for nearly two years, and the effects on our psychological wellbeing has been profound. Between fear, uncertainty, financial hardship, social isolation and loneliness, many of us have found life a little harder than normal.
At AlayaCare, we want our people to feel well and live well. And we also want to encourage open, and honest discussions about our mental health – because it’s okay to not be okay, and there is support available to you. Whatever you may be going through right now, we want you to know that you are not alone.
Mental health trends in Australia
The most common types of mental illness affecting Australians are:
- Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder. Around 1 in 10 Australians experience depression or feeling of depression.
- Anxiety disorders, including panic disorders, phobias, and generalised anxiety. Each year, 14% of Australians experience these disorders.
- Psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia, which affects 64,000 people each year.
- Substance use disorders, which affects around 5% of Australian adults.
Mental health conditions are very common in Australia. There are also many effective, convenient treatments available to help a person overcome their symptoms. However, despite this, 54% of people with mental illness do not access treatment – and this can result in their condition becoming much worse. That’s why normalising mental health discussions and breaking down the stigma so people feel comfortable in asking for help, is vital.
Checking in on your mental health
The term “mental illness” is an umbrella term that includes a variety of disorders, with different symptoms. These disorders can significantly impact your daily life, and affect how you feel, think, and interact with the people around you. While everybody is different and symptoms may vary, there are some common warning signs to look out for.
- Feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
- Excessive fears, panic or worries
- Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
- Withdrawal from friends, hobbies and activities
- Feeling tired all the time or issues with sleep at all
- Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Major changes in eating habits
- Excessive anger, hostility or violence
- Suicidal thinking
Sometimes, symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and pains.
Seeking out help
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek out help. Mental heath disorders are very common and there is absolutely no shame in asking for support when you need it. In fact, the earlier a mental health disorder is addressed, the easier it is to resolve. Most mental illnesses do not improve on their own, and if untreated, it can get worse over time and may cause serious problems.
The good news is that there are many support services available in Australia, including:
- Your GP or a trusted healthcare professional
- Head to Health (to find digital health resources)
- Beyond Blue (for anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online
- Black Dog Institute (for people affected by mood disorders) — online help
- headspace (online tools for young people)
- Mensline Australia — call 1300 78 99 78
If you are feeling suicidal or in a crisis, please seek help immediately.
- Triple Zero (000) in an Emergency
- Lifeline (13 11 14)
- Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467)
At AlayaCare, we believe in better outcomes, including the better health outcomes of our clients and the industry. Contact AlayaCare To learn more.