This week is National Mental Health Week, which runs from the 9 -15 October 2016. It is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, and aims to raise public awareness of mental health across the globe.

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).

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.

We all have a role to play in our own mental health and wellbeing

It’s about taking personal ownership and looking after yourself. 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 participate in new and fun activities as a form of relaxation and pleasure.”

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 just inspired.

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

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For more information, visit Mental Health Australia.

(Reference: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social Trends, March 2009 (cat. no. 4102.0), www.abs.gov.au.)