Almost half of all Australians aged between 16-85 will experience mental health problems in their life. But, what exactly is a mental health issue? A person’s mental health affects how they feel, think, behave and relate to others. Mental illness includes various disorders ranging from low to high severity and ranging from long term to short term time intervals. The top three mental health issues are anxiety, affective disorder such as depression and substance abuse disorders such as alcohol and drugs.

What happens if mental health is left untreated?

The most obvious effect of untreated mental illness is the decline of mental health. Furthermore, when mental illness becomes too challenging to handle by the brain, the burden is transferred to the rest of the body which results in body aches and pain. Mental illness when left untreated can make life intolerable and affect one’s judgement and escalate to a point where it is unbearble and suicide seems the final option. Thus, undetected and untreated mental health problems results in poorer quality of life, higher social costs for care, decreased effectiveness of treatment, and increased premature mortality.

How has mental health sector changed over the past years?

Mental health sector experienced a major push after the endorsement of the National Mental Health Strategy in 1992. Public sector mental health services are now staffed by a significantly larger mental health workers i.e a 51% increase in mental health specialists. Care is now delivered primarily in community settings, compared with the previous on inpatient services provided. There was an annual average increase of 7.8% in the number of residential mental health care episodes provided between 2011–12 and 2015–16. Overall, there has be1en a significant in residential and community care provided over the past few years.

How to raise awareness about mental health?

You may ask what can we do? RAISING AWARENESS is the key step which can be done by anyone.

  1. You can help someone by simply asking how they are? Always be ready to listen and courage.

  2. Read about it. Educate yourself about mental illness and suicide. Learn about the signs and symptoms and where to receive help in your area.
  3. Share mental health screening sites (like Beyond Blue) on social media. Facebook and Twitter are great places to spread mental health awareness.
  4. Volunteer with local mental health awareness organizations.
  5. Encourage friends and family to eat healthy and exercise for mental health. Healthy body leads to a healthy mind.
  6. Share your story. Have you personally struggled or currently struggle with mental illness? Don’t hesitate to tell friends and family about it. Your story can encourage others to ask for help.

Riya Amin,

My Care My Choice