It’s World Mental Health Day today (October 10, 2018). The World Federation for Mental Health initiative aims to shine the spotlight on mental health education, awareness and advocacy, worldwide.

Mental Health Australia is coordinating the local arm of the global initiative today (during Mental Health Week) via their ‘Do You See What I See’ campaign which strives to challenge the community’s perception of mental illness, and reduce the associated stigma, to enable those affected to seek the help and support they deserve.

Given almost one in two Australians will experience a mental health issue at some stage during their lives, with anxiety the most commonly reported health condition experienced by around 14 per cent of our population, this topic is certainly worthy of our attention.

Women are particularly at risk of experiencing mental disorders (22 per cent) versus men (18 per cent). They have a higher rate of anxiety disorders (18 per cent versus 11 per cent for men), and affective disorders (7 per cent versus 5 per cent respectively). In contrast however, men have over twice the rate of substance use disorders (7 per cent) than women (3 per cent). Substance use disorders tend to afflict younger people (13 per cent) while anxiety disorders most commonly affect those aged between 35 – 44 years (18 per cent). Disturbingly, more than 3,100 Australians died from intentional self-harm in 2017, afflicting men at a more than-three-times rate than women.

It’s time we recognised the pivotal role of mental health within our respective communities.

Should you or a loved one be grappling with a mental health issue, and/or require support, contact the organisations below without delay.

  • Lifeline – 131 114
  • Beyondblue – 1300 224 636
  • MensLine – 1300 789 978.