The topic of mental health is often ignored in our community, with many Australians not seeking help when they experience symptoms of a mental illness. It is important to remember that mental health issues can affect people differently, no two people are the same. That is why professional advice and help is vital.
So why do so many Australians not seek out help?
Mental Illness is an issue that effects many of us. In a national survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2007, results from a sample of 8,800 people across all states and territories, indicated a staggering one in five had experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder during a 12 month period prior to the survey. However, what is most concerning about this statistics, is that only 35% of people had attempted to gain help from a health service. This is alarming, and highlights why we need to create more awareness surrounding mental health.
One of the primary reasons why so many people do not seek help or follow through with mental health care is the stigma surrounding mental health disorders. Many people feel ashamed to associate themselves with the label of ‘mental illness’ and worry about opinions of others. These negative thoughts will often hinder their willingness to disclose their illness to health professionals and seek appropriate treatment. It is important that as a community that help to reduce these negative stereotypes associated with mental health and show our support in creating an environment where people do not feel ashamed to seek help.
A similar issue is emerging within our youth, with a recent survey highlighting that only 29% of children and adolescents with a mental health problem had been in contact with a professional service in a 12 month period. Of the same sample surveyed, 30% of men emphasised that they would not seek help from anyone, while only 6% of women mentioned that they would not seek help. This statistic is concerning with suicide rates higher amongst males than females in Australia.
Removing the stigma of mental health can help make more males feel comfortable sharing their mental health concerns with professional practitioners and those around them.
Creating an open discussion and increasing our knowledge about how mental health effects those around us, can create a safe, positive environment for our community, and help remove the stigma that is present in our society.
So how can we as a community do this?
Openly discussing this issue can work towards providing confidence for those suffering, to seek help. Whether it is seeking help with a loved one, or seeking help with a mental health practitioner, talking about the struggles associated with mental health assists in the reduction of the stigma experienced.
Another way to raise awareness is to share your own story. Chances are that someone you know has also experienced mental health issues and sharing your journey can help to remove the perception of shame involved and may inspire someone else to also share their story. Mental health issues are common and effects many of us.
Peninsula Hot Springs - helping to raise mental health awareness
As a community partner of Mentis Assist, Peninsula Hot Springs is helping to raise mental health awareness. Working together, Peninsula Hot Springs and Mentis Assist have a common goal of improving mental and physical wellbeing and to improve access and services to increase mental health awareness in our community.
The partnership provides an opportunity for Peninsula Hot Springs to support the important work of Mentis Assist, raise awareness and to reduce the stigma of the significant mental health issues in our society.
To help raise awareness of mental health, Peninsula Hot Springs will be hosting a unique charity ‘cycling & bathing’ event, Ride for Relief, which will raise funds and awareness to support Australians suffering from mental health issues.
All funds raised from the event will go to Mentis Assist, to help provide accessible mental health and physical wellbeing opportunities that work to build strong and resilient individuals and communities.
The ride will take place on Sunday 21st October, where riders will meet in the morning at Peninsula Hot Springs to take off on a spectacular 100km scenic ride around Mornington Peninsula, finishing back at the Peninsula Hot Springs where participants will enjoy a healthy set lunch and then can unwind, relax and recover by bathing in the natural geothermal mineral-rich waters.
For more information or to register your interest, visit the Peninsula Hot Springs Website at https://www.peninsulahotsprings.com/introducing-charity-cycling-event-ride-relief/
If you, or someone you know has a mental illness and would like to know more about how Mentis Assist can help, call us on 1300 MENTIS (1300 636 847) or visit our website http://mentisassist.org.au/