October is Mental Health Awareness Month

October is Mental Health Awareness Month

October is Mental Health Awareness Month

October brings us to Mental Health Awareness Month – a time to shed some light on our mental health and overall wellbeing.

Mental health encompasses a range of factors, including a person’s emotional stability, cognitive functioning, interpersonal relationships, and their ability to cope with stress and adversity, yet it often remains shrouded in stigma and misconceptions.

Mental Health Awareness Month is dedicated to breaking down these barriers, fostering understanding, and encouraging open conversations about mental health issues.

Far too often, individuals experiencing mental health issues are afraid to seek help due to fear of judgement or discrimination. Mental Health Awareness Month provides a platform to educate the public about mental health conditions, their prevalence, and the importance of early intervention.

By openly discussing mental health and sharing personal stories, we can challenge the misconceptions and create a more inclusive society where people feel comfortable seeking the support they need.

Being aware of one’s own mental state and taking steps to practice self-care, such as seeking help when needed, is an integral part of maintaining good mental health.

During this month, individuals are encouraged to prioritise self-care practices that promote mental well-being. This might include exercise, meditation, journalling, or simply taking the time to relax and recharge. 

Whether it be a gentle walk along the foreshore, taking a long bubble bath, writing down a list of goals or things we’re grateful for, or downloading the Smiling Mind app (Australia’s number 1 mindfulness app – and it’s FREE!), the message is clear: taking care of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical health.

How can you get involved?

Participating in Mental Health Awareness Month is not limited to mental health professionals or organisations, everyone can contribute to the cause:

  1. Start conversations: initiate open and non-judgmental conversations about mental health with friends, family, and colleagues. Excellent online resources on how to have a conversation are available at beyondblue.org.au, ruok.org.au, and kidshelpline.com.au
  2. Share information: use social media platforms to share informative articles, personal stories, and resources related to mental health. Follow Beyondblue, R U OK?Day and Kids Helpline Official on Facebook and Instagram.
  3. Support mental health organisations: donate to or volunteer with mental health organisations and charities that provide essential services and resources to those in need. Each October the Black Dog Institute (blackdoginstitute.org.au) raises funds through their One Foot Forward initiative. Participants can sign up through their website.
October is Mental Health Awareness Month

October is Mental Health Awareness Month

Where to seek support.

Firstly, and it can’t be emphasised enough, seeking help when needed is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s a huge step in working towards better mental health. If you are concerned about your mental health, here are some steps to consider:

  • Talk to someone you trust: start by confiding in a friend or family member you trust. Sometimes, sharing your feelings and experiences with someone can be a significant first step.
  • Consult your General Practitioner: your primary care Doctor can provide guidance, rule out any underlying medical conditions, offer you a Mental Health Care Plan, and refer you to a mental healthcare professional if necessary. 

24hr crisis helplines and online resources*:

  • Suicide and Crisis Support – if you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on Triple Zero: 000
    To talk to someone now call: Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 suicidecallbackservice.org.au is an online 24 hour service.
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 SMS: 0477 13 11 14 lifeline.org.au
  • Alzheimer’s Australia: 1800 100 500 dementia.org.au
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 beyondblue.org.au
  • Kids Helpline (people aged between 5 & 25): 1800 55 1800 kidshelpline.com.au
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 mensline.org.au
  • Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling: 1800 011 046 openarms.gov.au

Other hours crisis services*:

*Information current as of September 2023.

These organisations and many others are there to provide support and guidance for individuals experiencing mental health issues or crises. Many offer SMS or online chat options so don’t hesitate to reach out to them or encourage someone you know to seek help if needed.

A comprehensive brochure with additional helplines and websites has been created by Brangan Medical and will be available at participating local businesses and community venues this October.

Finally, Queensland Mental Health Week is from 7 to 15 October. The Lions Club of Tin Can Bay will be raising awareness by turning a tree blue along Groper Street, Tin Can Bay, near IGA.

Article by: Sandy Brangan, Brangan Medical Business Consultants

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