55% of Australians believe mental wellbeing is an essential part of mental health. At any given time, over two million Australians are living with anxiety and more than one million are living with depression. Unfortunately, more than half of those experiencing a mental health condition don’t seek help.
Kate Carnell, former CEO of BeyondBlue, shares her top tips for staying mentally healthy.
1. Do things you love. Being actively involved in your community and having a sense of purpose in your life, such as working in a job you enjoy, studying or volunteering, have all been shown to boost people’s feelings of wellbeing.
2. Keep active and healthy. Other things that help people to stay mentally healthy include regular exercise, a healthy diet, good-quality sleep and regular participation in enjoyable activities.
3. Be social. Connecting with others – friends, family, co-workers, and people in your community – is very important.
4. Know that struggling is not a sign of weakness. We all have good and bad days – and occasionally, we all need someone to lean on. Tough times are an inevitable part of life, but nobody needs to go through difficulties on their own.
5. Talk to someone. It may be hard to open up, but talking to someone you trust about your worries may provide a sense of relief and may be the first step towards recovery. That trusted person could be a friend, family member, workmate or your GP.
6. Recognise symptoms. If you recognise symptoms of depression or anxiety in yourself, it is important to take action early. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can begin to recover. If left untreated, depression and anxiety can become debilitating.
7. Seek help. Taking action may not be as hard as you think. Talking to a GP is a great starting point. GPs can make a diagnosis, discuss treatment options, prescribe medication if needed, and possibly refer you to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
8. Remember you’re never alone. If you don’t have close family members, a network of friends or a GP you can talk to, there are others who will listen to your concerns and help you. The trained mental health professionals who staff the beyondblue Support Service are there 24/7. You can contact them via phone (1300 22 4636), web chat or email. All calls and chats are one-on-one and confidential.