One in five Australians aged 16 to 85 years will experience mental health conditions at some point in their life. The most common conditions are:
- affective disorders, especially depression
- substance use disorders, especially alcohol use
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization as a state of wellbeing of an individual. The mental health in which the individual realises his or her own potential by:
- whether he or she can cope with the normal stresses of life
- can work productively and fruitfully
- and is able to make a contribution to their community.
When most people hear the words ‘mental health’ they immediately think of conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. In fact, these are mental health conditions (aka mental disorders or mental illnesses)
What is mental illness?
A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person:
- and interacts with other people.
Sometimes our mental health comes under strain from life events – a relationship break-up, difficult work situation or family problems. All of us have varying thresholds for how much we can cope with before our mental health suffers.
Learn how to recognise the 9 signs of mental illness. If a friend or loved one doesn’t seem themselves, how to spot the difference between a bad mood and something more serious. Drinking too much, being a party pooper, crying all the time or any other ongoing, significant change in a person’s behaviours, thoughts or feelings could be tell-tale signs of a mental illness. 1 in 5 Australians are dealing with mental health issue.
You may observe a change in your behavior – withdrawing from family and friends, not participating in the usual enjoyable activities or using alcohol more frequently, for example. Negative thoughts and feelings may manifest such as “I’m worthless” “I’m a failure” along with feelings of sadness, disappointment and irritability.
What to do if you’re experiencing the above nine signs?
Seeking help from your GP is a good place to start. They can help make a diagnosis, check for physical health problems that may be contributing to how you feel, prescribe medication, provide supportive counselling, refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist, and schedule regular appointments to see how you are going. Our GP can also prepare a GP Mental Health Care Plan which enables you to receive a Medicare rebate for psychological counselling.
Would like to talk with a trained mental health professional anonymously over the phone any time?
Do you know someone passing for those conditions? Help them!
Beyond Blue has developed this page Supporting someone with a mental health condition with tips in how to help.
R U OK? A conversation could change a life – how to ask?
What are benefits of good mental health?
Research consistently shows that a higher level of mental wellbeing leads to increased learning, creativity and productivity, more pro-social behaviour, positive relationships, and improved physical health and life expectancy.
Ultimately, mental health is about being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy – the way we think, feel and develop relationships – and not merely the absence of a mental health condition
Meet our GP doctors:
Mental illness: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-illness
The facts (2019, Sept 17th) – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts
What causes anxiety? (2019, Sept 17th) – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/what-causes-anxiety
Anxiety (2019, Sept 17th) – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety