World Mental Health Day 2014

World Mental Health Day is on 10 Oct, and (Australian) National Mental Health Week is between 5-12 October 2014. The theme for WMHD2014 is “Living With Schizophrenia”.

The ABC will be running a week’s worth of mental health-centred programming – check out the highlights here: ABC’s Mental As.

About 1 in 2 Australians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life, and we are all affected by mental health issues: our own, those of our family and loved ones, and in our communities. Mental health Week is a good incentive to get people to think a bit more about their own mental health as well as those of others, to reduce stigma around mental health, and to connect with others.

With these three points in mind, I will post a few resources to check out:

1. Mental health info and services.

    BeyondBlue is a good place to start reading about mental health issues, especially depression and anxiety, which are the most common mental health conditions.

    For young people, ReachOut is also a good place to visit when things get tough.

    Project Air Strategy, maintained by the University of Wollongong, is a resource specifically for personality disorders, and includes a state-by-state treatment directory.

    National Eating Disorders Collaboration is a repository of good information about eating disorders and their treatment.

    In NSW there is a great resource for schizophrenia: The Schizophrenia Fellowship.

2. Stigma is alive and well.

    Not only is there stigma towards having a mental health condition, but also stigma and discrimination towards other personal characteristics (such as race, sexuality, gender) can greatly contribute to mental health problems. Check out BeyondBlue’s Stop. Think. Respect. campaign – they have some great videos on this issue.

    Think before you call someone “mad” or “crazy”, before you assume that people with mental health issues are “lazy”, “attention-seeking”, “manipulative” or “aggressive”, or before you ascribe mental health difficulties to behaviour that seems unusual *to you*.

    This goes not only for the more well-known mental health issues, but also for ones that don’t garner as much attention or support, such as personality disorders, which are often described in pejorative terms or not taken seriously, despite the fact that they represent long-standing, severe difficulties that can pervasively affect many aspects of life.

3. Get connected.

    SANE Australia has forums for people with mental health issues, as well as carers’ forums.

    BlueBoard, maintained by the Australian National University, is another good forum for sharing experiences with mental health difficulties.

    ReachOut also have forums for young people with mental health concerns.

If you’re after a mental health professional (such as a GP with an interest in mental health, a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist) in your area, check out this “Find a Professional” service provided by BeyondBlue.

And of course, if in crisis, call Lifeline (13 11 14) – they are there 24/7 to lend an ear.

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