It’s Mental Health Month, and there’s no question that in 2020, across Australia, people’s mental health conditions have escalated significantly.
Tony Stevenson, CEO of the not-for-profit Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA) says this is due to fear, anxiety and social isolation, with COVID-19 hitting the entire community very hard.
‘What is very troubling is that 54% of people with a mental illness do not access any kind of treatment,’ Mr Stevenson said.
‘Close to seven in ten of all GP presentations are now people with mental health issues.’
Hotline and website
The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia provides a special hotline designed to help people work out where to get help.
The number for this free service is 1800 985 944. More information is available here.
Mr Stevenson believes mental health issues need to be talked about much more across the community, with close to half (45%) of all Australians experiencing a mental illness at some stage.
He said it’s now estimated that 3.8 million Australians live with a mental illness, and 690,000 of those people live with a severe mental illness.
‘We absolutely need to be investing more in services that help people with mental health issues,’ he said. ‘We must make it easier for people to access the help that is actually out there.’
Mr Stevenson said his key message is, ‘Reach out … because there is help out there.’
He urges anyone needing help to contact the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia via the website or free helpline, 1800 985 944.
Another resource which is being highlighted for Mental Health Month is WayAhead.org.au.
Their theme this year is ‘Tune in’ with people being urged to tune in to many things in order to build self awareness, help make effective choices, reduce the impact of worry and build positive connections.
WayAhead are suggesting that people:
- Tune in to yourself – What can you sense right now? What can you feel?
- Tune in to others – What might people around you be feeling? How can we connect?
- Tune in to your communities – What is happening that you can be part of, or that you can help others be part of?
- Tune in to stigma – How do attitudes and understandings of mental health and wellbeing impact on people’s ability to live the lives they want? How can we help?
Check out their website for lots more information.