When is Mental Illness Awareness Month/Week
It is just as important to take care of your mental health as it is your physical health and during the second week of October each year, the nation as a whole makes it a priority to bring awareness to the vital importance of our inner world and overall well being.
In 2019 from 5 to 11 October, universities, councils and dedicated mental health institutes stage programs, support groups, exhibitions, fundraisers, forums, performances, workshops and general meetups in an effort to focus on helping each other through the hard times and how essential it is to connect with the mental health support services available to them.
By shining a light on wellbeing and community, we can see the importance of taking time for the things that boost our mental wellbeing such as keeping active, giving, relieving stress, connecting and checking in on others, enjoying the moment and caring for all living things.
How to have the Conversation
During Mental Awareness Month (in Australia, this takes place during October), the conversation continues, giving Australians the opportunity to reflect on the mental health of those they care about and what we can do for ourselves when it comes to our own mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month is an opportunity to have conversations with your friends, family and community about mental health and wellbeing. For some people, the thought of having a ‘mental health’ conversation may be uncomfortable or too difficult. The RU OK website has great information on how to start off and have a mental health conversation.
Mental Health Survey
According to the Mental Health Australia Report to the Nation, the top 5 things important for the mental health and wellbeing of Australians are as follows:
- Family/partner support and love: 21%
- Friends/socialising with others: 20%
- Physical activity/sport: 16%
- Being positive/happy: 15%
- Having time to yourself: 14%
The first Mental Health Australia Report to the Nation (2022) reveals that there are many things to celebrate in terms of the mental health and wellbeing of Australians. For the most part, this research suggests we are a happy and socially connected nation who support one another and have things in our lives to look forward to. When we need to, most Australians are able to reach out to a range of formal and informal sources of mental health and wellbeing supports and information, and overwhelmingly, when we access support this is safe, respectful, and effective in improving our mental health.
However, there are many areas where our mental health and wellbeing at population level could be strengthened. We are more likely to help others than ask for help ourselves, and we commonly feel we should resolve our issues on our own, suggesting an opportunity to further encourage social connection through vulnerability. Fewer than half of us feel part of a community, and levels of financial and job security are worryingly low. Many of us are also feeling an impact from global threats such as climate change, war and social unrest. As economic and global instability and the threats of climate change evolve over coming years, they will continue to threaten the mental health and wellbeing of Australians.