World Mental Health Day is an annual day held on the 10th October as part of Mental Health Week to raise public awareness of mental health across the globe.

Mental Health Australia’s campaign ‘Do You See What I See?’  is encouraging everyone to look at mental health in a more positive light. By changing people’s perceptions of mental health and reducing the stigma around mental illness, it is hoped that more people who are struggling with their mental health seek the support they need and deserve.

What is mental health?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines mental health, as “a state of wellbeing in which individuals can cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and are able to make a contribution to their community.

Mental illness, on the other hand, describes a number of diagnosable disorders that can significantly interfere with a person’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities.” (ABS, 2009).

1 in 5 Australians…

Approximately 1 in 5 Australians experience a mental illness and almost half (45%) of Australians report that they would have met the criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder at some point in their life.

The most prevalent mental disorders experienced by Australians are anxiety, depression and substance use disorder. In Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 – 44 years.

We all have a role to play in our own mental health and wellbeing, as well as encouraging others to do the same.

Start by making a Mental Health Promise to yourself

I have, and it’s simple. My mental health promise is…

“To schedule more ‘me’ time by making the time to get out in nature and ‘smell the roses’ as often as I can.”

You don’t have to have a mental illness to take part, you just need to have an interest in your own good health, which is important to everyone.

Make your own promise here and be part of a world-wide movement to improve mental wellbeing in our community.

If you’re stuck on ideas, check out the promises people are making on the Promise Wall. Click on the individual pictures, and you may be inspired.

If you’re struggling with your personal mental health, please visit your doctor today or speak to Lifeline on 13 11 14. Lifeline’s counsellors are trained professionals who can help and support you. As Lifeline highlights, “no one needs to face their problems alone”…

Until next time, wishing you all great health and wellbeing, including good mental health.

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Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social Trends, March 2009 (cat. no. 4102.0),

Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death.

Mental Health Australia.