October is Mental Health Month
Author: Chloe Marshall, Registered Psychologist
‘Share a cuppa. Share the journey.’ Did someone say cuppa? I would rarely say no to an offer.
This is the catchphrase for Mental Health Month this year. A theme that was so successful last year that it has been continued for 2018. Mental Health Month is held in October every year and is an opportunity to raise awareness around mental health and wellbeing. It is centred around World Mental Health Day, marked on October 10 each year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health. It is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. An initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide.
Now back to that cuppa. And what exactly is this journey we are sharing? It is the journey of wellbeing. The lows, not just the highs. The times when things aren’t so great, and we struggle to get through the day. The moments when life disappoints and we feel overwhelmed and anxious. When everything isn’t okay and we need help.
Sharing the Journey is all about supporting one another through the mental health issues that we face. Because the reality is, 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. And there is often a misconception that those suffering are the ones you never see; with references made to people being ‘hopeless’, ‘scary’, or ‘weak’. But many affected by mental illness manage to function so well that you may not even notice their struggle. They could be your child’s teacher, or that talented person studying a PhD. They might be your colleague or your mother. With the right treatment and support, these individuals can fulfil responsibilities and contribute to the community.
You can help to ‘Share the Journey’ by reaching out to someone; by decreasing the isolation people feel when things aren’t great (because we know that isolation only makes it worse). Sharing the Journey means telling your friends and family when things are tough and connecting with others who’ve experienced something similar. It means getting help from a health professional you trust. It is creating a sense of security within families and communities. And for organisations it is working together for the wellbeing of everyone.
Let’s all do what we can to contribute to raising awareness of mental health issues; to reducing stigma and to making it easier for people to seek help. Let’s make sure that people are connected and supported. Let’s remind them that they aren’t alone and that people do care.
October: Mental Health Month
10 October: World Mental Health Day
For more information and ideas on what you can do, check out these websites:
World Health Organisation