Why we need to talk more about mental illness

At some point in our lives we will experience mental health issues in one way or another.
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Let's talk about your mental health.

Mental illness is one of those not talked about topics.

But it should be.

Why? Because at some point in our lives we will experience it one way or another; either personally or people we know and love.

A new study by Duke University in the US found 83 percent of people experience some form of mental disorder by the time they are middle aged.

This includes a short term disorder which can be substance abuse, through to chronic mental disorders such as long-term depression and bipolar disorder, with other more common disorders included such as anxiety and depression.

Researchers were surprised to find a wealthy family life did not mean a lower likelihood of mental illness. Neither did good health or high intelligence.

Instead they found those with a positive temperament and minimal family history of mental health were least likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness themselves.

Those who had not experienced a mental illness also had a good education, good job and good relationship, and had a greater life satisfaction.

Duke University claims to be a leader in child and adolescent mental health clinical care, research and education and their division of child and family mental health and developmental neuroscience is dedicated to researching.

Their study took place in Dunedin, New Zealand, following the subjects from birth to midlife.

In Australia the official statistics are much lower than their report shows, with about one in every five predicted to experience mental illness.

Of those numbers four percent will experience a major depressive episode in a year; with more woman than men affected.

On the flip side men are more likely than women to experience a substance abuse disorder

The good news is that the prevalence of mental illness decreases with age.

Women are more likely than men to seek help and use the services available.

The fact is, looking after your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

It’s a topic more and more celebs are talking about, which goes a long way towards making it socially acceptable to talk about.

Ryan Reynolds has talked about experiencing anxiety while working on the set of Deadpool, while Lady Gaga has said she suffers from PTSD. 

Catherine Zeta-Jones hopes hearing she has bipolar helps others who have it, to for them to know it is controllable.

It was even on Prince Williams radar when he made public appearances earlier this week, calling out people to normalise mental health.

“On average, it takes a sufferer 10 years to admit to a problem,” Prince William said.

“This means that what often starts as a fairly minor issue becomes something serious and medical after time.

Silence can kill, but talking can lead to help and support.”

 

So lets talk about it.

 

Do you need help?

Here are some contacts for services available in Australia

Lifeline 13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 789 978

Beyondblue 1300 224 636

 

How do you think we can get rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness? 

  1. Linda L Holland  

    As a Psychologist I find so many patients wait and suffer with mental health issues for far too long due to stigma, embarrassment , fear, employment censure, insurance rejection and do on.
    Not only is this dangerous and can create suffering unnecessarily
    It can mean longer term treatment is necessary, relationships have broken down, friends and support circle have diminished, family alienation and so much more stress, anxiety and depression for the patient.

    More media exposure is a great idea, but insurance companies of all sorts need to stop refusing insurance due to people having seen a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. One way to remove the stigma of early treatment and more awareness i believe is more public forums for people to attend and learn the early warning signs of stress and depression and changes in their mental health and coping abilities. Also for more clubs and organisations and schools to invite those professionals who treat these issues daily Year in and year out to speak and share information. To remove the stigma of mental health struggles people need to be educated. We spend millions of dollars making people aware of physical health issues, why not mental health when it saves lives and can save so many families sadness, hurt pain and distress.

    • Moira  

      Hi Linda, That was well said. I think the other thing that people need to look at is the “Before”, “During” and “After”, with people`s lives. Preferably getting to the problem before it becomes difficult or becomes a breakdown or needing medication or Psychologists. I think this is where some people have the upper hand on Mental Health as they have someone to talk about it with and can adjust our thinking. During–this may be the time when the feelings are escalating, not eating, not sleeping ect. After–This is when we have a look for help and feel helpless, don`t want to ask for help, want to hide from people ect. What are you thoughts on this ??

    • Joan Marshall  

      Mental illness broke our family. If only my husband sought medical help our sons would have had better jobs and been financially secure but nothing in the world could convince my husband that he needed help. I think 18 years of tolerance was all I could give. I would have had a mental breakdown had I stayed any longer. To this day after his death I still feel our family could have been saved. It was sheer HELL..

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