Invest in your future during Mental Health Month

October 1, 2020

October marks Mental Health Month, a project driven by the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA). It aims to raise awareness and promote discussion around mental health issues, with the ultimate goal of educating and reducing the stigma associated with this branch of health and wellbeing.

Mental health is a subject that touches us all. According to the National Health Survey for 2017-18 published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), one in five Australians live with a mental health or behavioural condition, while just over 13 percent of Australians have an anxiety-related disorder. The survey also reported that one in ten Australians has depression.

For all these categories, the numbers have increased since the previous survey for 2014-15.

The impact of COVID-19 on mental health

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified mental health issues.

Another survey by the ABS carried out in August 2020 on the impact of COVID-19 on Australians found that almost 46 percent of Australians felt nervous at least some of the time.

One in four Australians reported feeling hopeless at least some of the time, while one in six was affected so badly by feelings of depression that nothing could uplift them at least some of the time.

The survey reported that women were more likely than men to be suffering with their mental health, while those aged 18 to 64 years were more affected than people aged 65 years and over.

Awareness campaigns around mental health are needed now more than ever as the pandemic continues to impact on Australians’ lives.

What solutions are out there to help your mental health?

If you’re one of the many Australians affected by mental health issues, the key message is don’t despair. There are many sources of support and counselling out there, as well as a wealth of practical tips to help you regain control of your mental health.

Sources of support

These are just a handful of the many support organisations in Australia that can help you with your mental health. 

CatholicCare – that’s us! We are the social care agency of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Broken Bay. We offer a raft of services, many via NDIS and Medicare.

The Black Dog Institute offers online resources to support your mental health. These include free online self-tests and a clinic to assess your current mental wellbeing. It will also signpost you to support groups and offers personal stories to inspire you and give you hope.

Head to Health is the government’s resource to help people find digital mental health resources, providing links to trusted online and phone support.

Beyond Blue offers immediate support for anyone with mental health concerns. You can call, chat online or use email to discuss your issues with a trained mental health professional or take part in community forums.

Tips for good mental health you can practise at home

Why not see looking after your mental health as investing in your future, just as you would your physical health? Follow our ten top tips for easy self-care.

  • Sleep well to keep anxiety and depression at bay.
  • Eat a balanced diet to get the vitamins and minerals you need to balance your moods.
  • Say no to alcohol and drugs, which can trigger depression, anxiety and low mood.
  • Enjoy safe exposure to sunlight to boost your vitamin D levels and release mood-enhancing chemicals.
  • Take ownership of your stress levels by writing down your worries or sharing them with a friend.
  •  Exercise regularly to release “feel-good” hormones to lift your mood.
  •  Schedule time for hobbies and enjoy fun stuff to improve your mood.
  •  Connect with a friend or neighbour for company and chat.
  • Help out in the community to give you a sense of pride and wellbeing.
  • Reach out if you’re feeling low by contacting your GP or one of the support organisations listed above to get the help you deserve.

Living your best and fullest life

We know that mental health issues can affect us all and that the current pandemic has had a far-reaching effect on people’s wellbeing. What we also know is that there are plenty of sources of help out there. So, if you are struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out. CatholicCare are here to help. Make it your mission this Mental Health Month to take that step towards living your best and fullest life.

Photo credit: Edu Lauton on Unsplash

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