You can't see mental illness like you see a broken bone but that doesn't mean it is not as detrimental or devastating to a family or individual.
Mental Health October is a month-long annual campaign which encourages us to think about our mental health and wellbeing. This October, it is "Time to Talk", to be more open about mental health problems which affect one in four of us leaving many feeling isolated, ashamed and worthless. Due to the impacts of Covid-19, cases of anxiety and depression have dramatically increased.
"Depression and anxiety can often overlap," said Dr. Carmen Moran, Adjunct Professor, Charles Sturt University and Presenter and Trainer, Highland FM 107.1. "Some people just have anxiety, a state of excessive worry."
"People with extreme anxiety often feel that they are going "crazy" especially if others comment on their level of worry or their odd behaviours. Extreme anxiety usually needs some form of treatment. Those with excessive anxiety often worry a lot about being anxious, which causes the problem to spiral. Sometimes you need to reassure people "it's okay to be a bit anxious about some things".
"Talking helps with these conditions, but listening is important too," she said.
"Depression is more often associated with mood and a feeling of personal hopelessness about the future and, at the lowest ebb, a strong physical weight so overbearing that is incapacitating."
"Those with depression may be unable to react to the simplest things, lose all motivation and find it difficult to get out of bed. When they stop talking to us, we can't see the depth of their condition except by looking at their behaviour."
"In some cases of deep depression, once a person makes up their mind to take their own life, they may seem to come back to a more contented form of their old selves. This makes it hard for family and friends to predict a suicide; "but he seemed to be getting better". Family and close friends are then left with guilt because they didn't see it coming as there often is little to see at that stage".
Escalating numbers of people are dying each year due to suicide, which is the third leading cause of death among young people. According to several recent reports, suicide has surpassed maternal mortality as the leading cause of death.
Whilst some mental health episodes tend to be transitory, they may force us to take frequent breaks from our work because we are stressed and depressed. The medication that we are taking to alleviate a disorder may make it difficult to concentrate or to even get to work. Left unchecked, these disorders may lead to alcoholism and drug use, further aggravating "fear attacks" or alienation from loved ones and daily routines.
Apart from personal consequences, the social and economic costs of ill mental health are staggeringly high and contribute to increased unemployment, disability costs, high rates of absenteeism and reduced productivity at work.
This year's observance of Mental Health October offers a good opportunity to shine a light on some of the myths surrounding mental illness, particularly in the workplace.
People who suffer from mental illness do not want to be ill. It is a bodily disease like physical illness, only with a different presentation. Physical illness makes sense, where a mental illness often seems illogical. Once this can be understood, we will be a step closer to having parity between physical illness and mental illness.
What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation.
Highland FM 107.1 has joined with Southern Highland News and ReFrame Community Links Wellbeing to encourage everyone this October that it is "Time To Talk" and to be more open about mental health - to talk, to listen, to seek help. You too, could save a life....perhaps your own.
For help or a friendly discussion, contact:
ReFrame Community Links Wellbeing on 0455 104 104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 224 636 or
Lifeline 24 hour support on 13 11 14.
Highland FM 107.1
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