Mental Health Month

September 3, 2018


There is a great deal of fear, shame and stigma around mental health issues. We need to look after ourselves to stay physically healthy by eating good food, exercising and sleeping well. If we broke a leg we would need medical attention and we may need to take time off to recover before returning to our normal routine.

However, if something happens in our life that affects our mental health (eg. a relationship ends or we lose our job), we may also be unable to function well. We may want to talk to someone, see a GP, or simply take some time off to get back to our usual self. A broken leg is obvious and easy to talk about, but why is it so much harder to talk about our mental health?

When we are struggling or having a tough time we may try to hide it. Often we think we are ‘weak’ or ‘a failure’ not to be coping and we may worry about what others will say. We are afraid we may be judged or there will be unpleasant consequences if we tell someone. So we struggle in silence and our mental health deteriorates. The tragic loss of life by suicide highlights the importance of learning about mental health and looking after our minds, as well as our bodies.

It is common to experience mental health issues; 1 in 5 will do so in any one year. About half of those people do not seek any help.

Every day in Australia, 6 people take their lives. Suicide has a huge impact on family, friends and workmates. Many of you may know this from experience. 1 in 7 will experience depression in their lifetime, and the World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030 depression will be the number one health concern.

We need to better understand mental health. Even if you don’t think this is relevant to you, it could be a lifesaver for one of your friends, family or workmates.

Mental health is just as important as physical health and safety.


The World Health Organisation describes mental health as:

“a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

Put simply, this means:

  • Feeling good about yourself, others and what you do
  • Enjoying your life
  • Feeling optimistic about the future
  • Being interested in what’s going on around you and in the wider world
  • Coping with the problems and even tragedies that life offers
  • Having good friends & family to have fun with and to help when it gets tough
  • Being active
  • Having a sense of belonging
  • Having a purpose in life