Today is Mental Health Day. Every year, on October 10, we shed awareness and health education toward mental health issues worldwide. In Australia, Mental Health Australia leads the campaign which focuses on how we all have a part to play in creating a mentally healthy community.
The “Do you see what I see?” initiative, is a campaign that challenges perceptions about mental illness in Australia, and encourages everyone to look at mental health in a more informed and positive way. This is essential in reducing the stigma in order to allow more people to seek the help they deserve without feeling any shame towards mental health issues.
In Australia, the stigma surrounding mental illness is an issue as it prevents people from talking about their challenges and worse, demotivates them from seeking the help and support that they so much deserve.
Misconceptions about mental health and a lack of education surrounding the topic can be so damaging to those suffering from mental illness as it makes people feel ashamed or that they are broken or faulty and this can make them feel alienated. They can often be referred to as being “weak”, “hopeless” or “scary” and messages both subliminal or conscious can appear anywhere from the workplace, school or in the media making it worse for those with a mental illness to come forward and talk about it.
One in five Australians are affected by a mental illness. It is imperative that we understand that most people living with a mental illness can live an independent and contributing life with the right treatment and support. We need to educate ourselves further and create a greater awareness that many people within our network such as family members, work colleagues or friend’s circles may suffer from a mental illness and it’s time to look at is with a positive light and offer support and acceptance. In this light, we will then be able to help rather than alienate.
For more information on Mental Health Day please visit https://1010.org.au/ where you can go and make a promise today to make a difference regarding mental illness and shifting the stigma to assist those in need.