The 2017 Media Kit is not yet available.
Download 2016 media Kit
What is the 2016 theme?
This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is “Learn and Grow” – encouraging people and communities to learn more about mental health and use that knowledge to grow personally and take control of their mental wellbeing.
Nearly half of all Australians (45%) will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime, and those that don’t will most likely know someone that does. But there’s still a lot of stigma and confusion around the topic and that’s where learning and growing comes in.
It’s important to make sure that as many people as possible know what mental illness looks like and what can be done to treat it – even if it’s not an issue for you right now, it might be one day, either for you or someone you know.
The theme also encourages everyone to learn new and exciting things, as the very act of learning can have many positive outcomes on our mental health and wellbeing – no matter what you choose to learn about.
WayAhead have produced a Learn and Grow Fact Sheet with more information on the theme and we have translations available in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi,Thai and Vietnamese.
You can download our Fact Sheets here.
What is Stress Less Day?
WayAhead’s Stress Less Day is held annually on the last Sunday of October’s Mental Health Month.This year’s Stress Less Day is Sunday the 30th of October. Stress Less Day is a great opportunity for people to make time to do things that are fun, relaxing, and enjoyable with their loved ones.
In the lead up to this 2016’s Mental Health Month WayAhead has been releasing weekly “Stress Less Tips” across their social media platforms. Some of this year’s tips include:
WayAhead will also be launching a new Stress Less website on the day at www.stresslesstips.org
What is Mental Health Month?
Mental Health Month is celebrated each year in the month of October in NSW.This awareness month encourages all of us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental illness or not.This month also gives us the opportunity to understand the importance of mental health in our everyday lives and encourages help seeking behaviours when needed.
In today’s society, most of us face increasing commitments. Unfortunately, with so many commitments in our lives, our mental health & wellbeing can become less of a priority.This year, we are focusing on encouraging everyone to prioritise taking care of their mental health and wellbeing.Taking care of our mental health and wellbeing is just as important as our family, friends, physical health and work life commitments.
WHEN IS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH?
The month of October is Mental Health Month for NSW.This is a national mental health promotion campaign held annually through the month of October.The timing of the campaign centres on World Mental Health Day, which is marked each year on October 10th and incorporates ‘Stress Less Day’ – Sunday 30th October. Mental Health Month is a useful reminder for all of us to think about the men- tal health of ourselves and those around us. It’s a great opportunity to engage all members of the community in activities that can enhance their mental health and wellbeing. It’s also a good excuse to get out there and have some fun!
WHERE CAN YOU FIND OUT MORE ABOUT REPORTING ON MENTAL ILLNESS IN OCTOBER?
WayAhead has put together a comprehensive website for this year’s mental health month including information, resources and personal stories: mentalhealthmonth.wayahead.org.au
For Mental Health Statistics and Facts visit: www.mindframe-media.info
A much quoted figure is that one in five Australians will be affected by a mental illness in any year. This was the finding of a 2007 Australian Government National Survey of mental health and wellbeing.
Against that background, Mental Health Month seeks to promote mental health and wellbeing by giving communities the opportunity to discuss and celebrate mental wellbeing while promoting the services and supports that our community is increasingly providing.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH VS. MENTAL ILLNESS?
There are a number of definitions of mental wellbeing.The one below is adapted from a well-known description provided by the World Health Organisation:
“Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
WHO RUNS MENTAL HEALTH MONTH?
WayAhead (formerly the Mental Health Association NSW) is the second oldest mental health charity in NSW. Our vision is a society that understands, values and actively supports the best possible mental health and wellbeing.We work in partnership with others to promote mental health and wellbeing through education, support and advocacy.
WayAhead plays a vital role in the development of mental health initiatives which result in increased community awareness and knowledge of mental health issues. Some of our programs include providing support groups across NSW, our Mental Health Information Service and Anxiety Disorders Information Service phone lines,WayAhead Workplaces – to promote workplace health and wellbeing, and popular health promotion campaigns such as Mental Health Month, perinatal depression and anxiety awareness week, and OCD awareness week.
Mental Health Month Awards
October’s Mental Health Month in NSW is launched at NSW Parliament House with the Mental Health Matters Awards.The Awards recognise outstanding service by organisations or individuals in mental health.
While the Award winners aren’t announced until September 29,WayAhead are pleased to say that the recipients are quite exceptional. Amongst the 12 Awards winners are:
- A secondary school catering for a large aboriginal population with a fantastic mentoring program.
- A media award for a thoughtful and sensitive story on bipolar disorder.
- A technologically delivered service enabling Sydney specialists to provide assistance to
rural service providers who cater for geriatric mental health.
- And an Arabic psychological wellbeing initiative that provides evidence based treatment that is sensitive to the cultural needs of this rapidly growing community.
A taste of Mental Health Month
With the theme “Learn and Grow”, WayAhead’s 2016 Mental Health Month provided small grants of $500 – $1000 to 45 community groups and organisations who are promoting mental health and wellbeing through a diverse range of events.
Over 50 events across NSW have gained funding through WayAhead’s Small Grant program for Mental Health Month events in 2016. With a theme set around “Learn and Grow” many of these events are promoting learning as a way of better growing the community’s health.
Some of the events target aboriginal communities, amongst them Headspace in Newcastle aims to engage young people and promote an awareness of mental health by promoting positive relationships in a creative song writing workshop. For Aboriginal elders in the Central Coast area a workshop will focus on wellbeing, successful ageing, mentoring youth, positive role models and how to use art as healing. In Grafton region a traditional Aboriginal dance performance and Art workshops will bring the community together for a day of healing and wellbeing that will include sharing information and the accessing of mental health services.
CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY DIVERSE (CALD) COMMUNITIES
Maronites are being well catered for by a series of Mental Health awareness events across multiple parishes that are promoting Learning and Growing through Sound and Mind., events include movie nights, BBQ’s as well as Church services.
In Wagga Wagga, the African, Burmese and Afghan communities’ young men and women are being invited to a “Social Soccer for Mental Health Awareness” providing an oppor tunity for local health services to meet the players. Goal!
Boronia Multicultural Services provides services and support to refugees and migrants in the Holroyd-Parramatta Local Government Areas.As part of their month long activities they are inviting Black Dog to present on mood disorders – what they are, their causes, how to spot warning signs, what to do and how to build personal resilience. They will also be running Tai Chi classes that are culturally appropriate and provide exercise with mediation practice.
There are events for young people from a CALD background and events for particular communities. The Bengali community are being invited by Bishwobeena Harmony with Tagore to find out about psychological wellbeing in a series of meetings aligned with cultural practice.
Of course, many events that have successfully applied for and are receiving WayAhead’s Small Grants are targeting the general population in both regional and Metropolitan NSW.
People have the opportunity to engage in so many ways – mental health recovery for over 65s, print making, yoga, mindfulness, gardening.
An early Halloween has come to Goulburn! A full day of dress-up and interactive activities will feature information stalls, guest speakers, a theatre show highlighting mental health screening tools as well as a suicide memorial walk.The Goulburn & District Suicide Prevention Network is encouraging participants to dress up as superheroes to support the severe mental health problems and stigma that some in the Goulburn community face.
In Nowra, Flourish Australia will present “Stories of Recovery – a Creative Journey”, an art based project held by anArtTherapist and Mental Health SupportWorkers that will engage people with lived experiences of mental health to share and explore their recovery journey.
People in the LGBTI community incur mental health issues such as Depression and Anxiety than those in the general population. So it is always great to hear of events that specifically target LGBTI.
Rainbow Families is hosting a seminar series over three weeks for LGBTI parents of young children aged 3-8 who want to brush up on their parenting skills and find new ways of dealing with their children’s behaviour so that both parents and children are able to learn and grow.
Parents will be able to meet and interact with other same and gender diverse parents while learning about the ‘Triple P’ which is a parent support program designed to prevent – as well as treat – behavioural and emotional problems in children and teenagers. Specific parenting issues such as addressing homophobia, coming out, dealing with children’s disclosures about their families will also be addressed.
Young people under 25 are an important target for mental health promoting events as they are at an extremely important stage in their development.
A special ‘Mental Health Mini Olympics’ will be held in Service Club Park, Kempsey. Mental health issues and good mental health will be promoted through fun games and friendly competition with a focus on group activities to help build young people’s skills in communication, leadership and teamwork.
The Olympic Games will be open to the community as spectators and supporters. Each team will represent a specific mental health topic and will be accompanied with information provided by local mental health services and supporting agencies.
FIND 2016 EVENTS
There are fetes, walks and everything in between with over 30 events receiving funding. Of course it isn’t just the events that are being funded that provide reasons to get into Mental Health Month. There are many other events on offer.
Visit our website mentalhealthmonth.wayahead.org.au/events to see the list of this years planned Mental Health Month Events.
2016 Personal Stories
When she was 53 Liz was diagnosed wiuth Social Anxiety, OCD and bipolar disorder – mental health issues she has been living with since she was a child.
People who suffer from anxiety disorders, or any type of mental illness, often have to go through a long process of trying out different treatments to find out what works best for them. Not only that but they may go undiagnosed for long periods of time.
After her diagnosis, Liz tried more traditional treatments such as medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but didn’t see any improvements, partly because CBT tends to work best in conjunction with medication.
“My major problem is that I can’t tolerate medication so when I finally was diagnosed I then went through a clinical process of taking drugs that didn’t agree with me,” she said.
After a lot of trial and error, Liz eventually discovered that what worked best for her was simply a change in diet, combined with yoga, university study, volunteering at a hospice and Jungian psychotherapy, which involves exploring a person’s unconscious mind and trying to reconcile it with their conscious thoughts.
For Liz, going to therapy feels like a sanctuary from her everyday life and gave her a safe place to talk about what she was going though.
Liz is available for interviews
Bonita is the perfect picture of health. She works on it. She eats well, gets plenty of sleep and places great importance on physical fitness. She avoids drugs and alcohol – she is someone who knows the value of feeling well, of mental wellbeing.
It hasn’t always been this way and she has learnt from the past. Bonita like 45% of Australian’s has been affected by mental illnesses. She has experienced an Eating Disorder that can still flare up when her self-esteem is low. She has also experienced a psychotic episode that forced her to be hospitalised.
Bonita has grown from her experiences and she continues to. She would rather not have had these experiences but she places great values on her mental health. She has learnt to do what she needs to be well.
Bonita is available for interviews.
*Not her real name
WAYAHEAD’S SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
2016 MENTAL HEALTH MONTH HASHTAGS:
If you have any further enquiries- please email