Almost 50% of Australians are likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime – so it is safe to say that we all know someone, or are someone who has been directly affected by mental illness in some way.
October is National Mental Health month – and this year we’re all being encouraged to be a mental health ally! Sometimes reaching out when we’re struggling is really hard and the stigma that’s attached to admitting you’re going through a tough time often makes us feel worse than saying nothing at all. We need to all work together to breakdown the barriers and shift the perception of mental health – because sometimes it’s ok to not be ok.
Being a mental health ally is all about making small changes in our behaviours, to create a more supportive world for those of us experiencing difficulties with mental health.
How to be a mental health ally
Support – reach out and ask someone how they’re doing, really listen to their story and validate their feelings. Sometimes just knowing that someone cares enough to truly listen and understand what they’re going through can make a huge difference.
Demonstrate – be the change the world needs. Communicate with compassion and kindness and break the stigma by speaking up when you see or hear mental health being spoken about negatively and speak up in support of those who can’t or don’t feel like they can speak up for themselves. Be a safe person by being understanding and non-judgemental and by normalising talking about our feelings.
Build Communities – often we’re stronger in numbers and sometimes it takes a village. Creating communities and providing a safe and inclusive environment where people can come together to share experiences and offer support is a great way to be able to reach out and help those in our communities who may think they have no one that understands what they’re going through.
It starts with you
We’re living in challenging times, and in one way or another we have all felt the impact of the current pandemic. Looking after your own health and wellbeing is where we need to start, after all how can we look after others if we don’t look after ourselves. Mental Health month gives us an opportunity to take the time to learn about self-care and the support services available to us. It’s also a great time to start a conversation with friends and family about both your own mental wellbeing as well as theirs.
What will you do this Mental Health Month in your mission to be a Mental Health Ally?
We’re here to support you
National Mental Health Month is being recognised all around Australia, with events and support available in each state. To check out what’s happening in your state and for resources available to you visit lookafteryourmentalhealthaustralia.org.au.
As our member, your health and wellbeing is our priority and we want you to know that we are here for you and we encourage you to reach out on 1800 028 817 or email. [email protected] if you need us.