What is the 2019 theme?
This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is “Share the Journey”
Although that’s been the theme since 2017, this year we’re doing something a bit different. This year we’re looking at connection both in terms of ways an individual can connect, but also the things we can all do to create communities where people feel safer and more connected when things aren’t going well.
Connecting with others is important, not only for people's mental wellbeing, but also for their health and survival. Research shows that feeling connected with others gives people a sense of security, support, purpose and happiness. Close connections and good relationships with others help people enjoy the good times in their lives as well as cope with the difficult experiences. This is important for all of us. Many Australians report feeling lonely, and believe loneliness is increasing in Australia . For those experiencing or living with mental illness, loneliness can have an even bigger impact, especially with the added experiences of social exclusion and stigma.
Sharing the Journey means working together to create communities that support people going through difficult times and enable everyone to have the best possible mental health!
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.
By challenging stigma and prejudice we can help ensure everyone can find ways to connect.
Share the Journey is all about ways we can connect with others, both for our own health and wellbeing, as well as theirs. Sharing the journey can mean many things:
•Telling your loved ones about both your successes and difficulties • Reaching out to people who might be withdrawing from others • Working with someone to find and access services or support • Asking for help with day-to-day things when you need it • Getting involved in group activities, like sports or book clubs • Sharing a cuppa with a mate
Whether you reach out to someone who might be feeling a bit lost or find a way to connect with others when you need some help, building positive social connection is something we can all try and do.
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 individuals and communities to connect with others and recognise how important this is for our mental health and wellbeing.
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.
MENTAL HEALTH? MENTAL ILLNESS? - Connecting with Concepts
Some of the mental health terms have different meanings for different people. These are the terms we use and what we mean when we use them.
Mental health – the overall state of mental wellbeing a person is experiencing. Just as everyone has a state of physical health, everyone also has a state of mental health, which varies over time and in response to things we experience.
Mental distress - a term used describe experiences a person may be having rather than a diagnostic term. This can occur at any point of the wellness to illness spectrum.
Mental ill-health - when our ability to think, feel and respond to others is negatively affected. This often occurs in response to life events and stressors and may resolve over time or when stress is reduced. If it is ongoing or getting worse, mental ill-health may be a sign mental illness.
Mental illness – a clinically diagnosable illness. The diagnosis of mental illness is generally made by professionals according to the classification systems, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Mental illnesses are diverse and can have varying degrees of severity. When referring to people, the preferred terminology is “person/people with lived experience of mental illness” or you might refer to a specific diagnosis, for example “person with lived experience of Bipolar disorder”, rather than saying “mentally ill person” or “Bipolar person”.
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 Matters Awards
The Mental Health Matters Awards celebrate the outstanding work being done across the state by organisations and individuals. The Awards ceremony, which will be held at the Shangri-La Hotel Grand Ballroom on the 27th of September, is a not-to-be-missed event where the winners will be introduced and celebrated.
Whilst the award winners won’t be announced until the ceremony, we can say that amongst the winners are:
- A rural festival which has led to ongoing support within the community
- A peer-led program which has reduced hospitalisation by up to 80%
- An organisation whose holistic and culturally aware approach to mental health has had a dramatic impact in reducing recidivism amongst people at-risk of incarceration
And many others!
It is truly an uplifting event, and being able to witness the exemplary work being done by these organisations and individuals is nothing short of inspiring.
Buy your tickets HERE
WAYAHEAD'S SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
2019 MENTAL HEALTH MONTH HASHTAGS:
If you have any further enquiries- please email