Mental health, (according to World Health Organisation) is defined as ‘a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises 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 his or her community’.
BeyondBlue is an Australian non for profit organisation that was established with an aim to address mental health issues such as depression and anxiety that may be affecting Australian individuals.
Currently, We at BeyondBlue aim to assist every individual to ‘achieve their best possible mental health’ through working on preparing Australian individuals with more well equipped information, knowledge and skills to maintain a healthy wellbeing, as well as the ability to recognise symptoms to prevent mental illnesses from developing, BeyondBlue has also reached out to the public to spread awareness relating to the importance of speaking up about mental illnesses, while also attempting to encourage individuals to get in the habit of engaging in conversations around the issue of mental illnesses considering ‘one in 8 men suffer will experience depression’ and one in five men to suffer from anxiety. It is thought to be of utmost importance to address the issue of mental illness as soon as possible as it could have a significant impact on the quality of everyday life, relationships and enable individuals to perform at their best.
In Australia, although the number of sufferers ( men especially) might not be as significant as opposed to other countries, because men are known to bottle things up, it was brought to our attention at BeyondBlue to address this issue before it becomes more drastic. As a result, we have established several fundraising campaigns, such as WalkforWelbeing- this campaign would involve trekking the Great Wall of China, to provide free support, advice, information and program to Australian individuals who are battling mental illnesses, while also providing support to Australian individuals affected by mental illnesses- eg depression, anxiety and suicide and the Ultimate24 which was established to assists individuals in our community who suffer from mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety as well as to raise awareness, to name a few.
Many times, conforming to society’s expectation (such as men’s attitudinal approach to their healths) can get in the way of individuals voicing out and craving to recover from their mental illnesses. Therefore it has come to our attention knowing that men are as vulnerable as women when it comes to mental illnesses.
‘Anxiety for me came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks’.
Bianca, a mental illness survival, suffered from anxiety. She shared that she initially realized some signs that included loss of appetite which resulted in weight loss, jittery and sweaty hands, and a palpitating heart.’It would beat super fast without any trigger and that alone would scare me into a nasty cycle.’ She explained that she then experienced panic attacks as a result of having anxiety and that gradually everything from career, relationship, independence, health started going downhill like an avalanche, and being reliant on alcohol. ‘Within a week, i quit my job, too scared i’d have another panic attack while driving’. Her life took a turn. Her family turned on her causing her relationship with her family and husband to fall apart.’People would stare and make comments to each other if I was ever out and I get why’.’I lost more weight and people were making comments about how my bones stuck out through my clothes’. ‘I looked like a junky, my hair was thin, my bones stuck out through my bones, I had dark stressed eyes, and I was jittery. During that time, my marriage ended and so did most of my relationships.’ She finally went to a general practitioner and was referred to a therapist who helped her break her dependence on alcohol. While going for therapy sessions, she realised that she was finally on the right path in life, being blessed with a wonderful husband, a beautiful boy, being able to get some new and old friendship back.
She realised that by talking to people, it helped her to cope with life better, to get back onto the right path in life, quicker.
As a result, individuals who suffer from mental health are more likely to adopt the cognitive biases such as the ‘ostrich’ and ‘stereotype’ cognitive bias as they fear being judged and the urge to conform to society’s standard. The ostrich bias is often described as ‘the decisions to ignore dangerous or negative information by ‘burying’ one’s head in the sand like an ostrich. Whereas the stereotype cognitive bias is ‘expecting a group or person to have certain qualities without having real information about the person’- Business Insider Australia, 2015.
With individuals obtaining help from Beyondblue’s and having ‘the conversation’, many have found that it has benefited their mental health (and wellbeing), through helping them to curb and potentially mitigate the challenges mental illness comes with. BeyondBlue aims to help individuals suffering from mental illness by providing treatments and supports, knowledges and advices to not only cater to people with mental illnesses and also individuals who seek to be of help to mental illness patience. Individuals are also able to gain help through BeyondBlue’s helpline (anytime of the day), online chat or electronic mail, shall they need immediate assistance.
Many times, individuals may find the need to consult others to hear them out. This has seen to be very helpful, therefore as a result, BeyondBlue has been urging individuals to revolve their conversations ( from a young age) around this topic.
More than 3 million Australians are currently living with depression and Anxiety. As a general marketing manager ,we at BeyondBlue aim to focus on raising awareness of depression, anxiety and suicide prevention & reducing the associated stigma ( BeyondBlue). Because this is seen as a bothersome issue, I am writing to encourage more conversations among Australian individuals ( from a young age) to revolve around the issue of mental health and breaking barriers that prevent individuals from speaking up. Recently, the number of individuals suffering from mental illnesses have increased once again. On behalf of BeyondBue, I would like to address the importance of the issue of mental health and the help individuals are able to gain access to. This has been brought to my attention as 1 in 8 men will suffer from depression and 1 in 5 men will suffer from anxiety in their life. Men have been seen to be more vulnerable as compared to ladies as conforming to society can sometimes come in the way of men getting help. Several personality trait of the male gender that seem to get in the way of them getting help could be – the ostrich effect and stereotyping/ The ostrich effect could be best described as a cognitive bias that results in ‘individuals ignoring dangerous of negative information by burying one’s head in the sand’. Whereas the stereotyping cognitive bias is where an expectation ‘is placed on group or person to have certain qualities without having real information about the person’ ( Business Insider, 2015).
At BeyondBlue, we strongly urge individuals who are facing challenges as a result of being a victim of mental illness to seek help as soon as possible as mental illnesses have severe consequences if not treated instantly with care. This can be done with the aid of BeyondBlue through its online forum, 24 hours call centre, electronic mail and via instant messaging. Individuals who suffer from mental illnesses are thought to seek medical help as mental illnesses can take a toll on not only patients, their everyday lifestyle and also their loved ones. Effects could range from breakups of relationships, losing a job and even suicidal depending on the severity of their mental illness status.
BeyondBlue has made it possible for individuals to recover from mental illnesses. If not for the generosity of the public, corporate and non government organisation through financial contribution, BeyondBlue would not have been able to provide ( mental illness) patients with the help they need. In the past, BeyondBlue had hosted multiple fundraising events and campaigns such as walkathons, marathon runs and the ‘Great Wall of China Trek’. These fundraising events have not only raised awareness and fund for the organisation, but also ensured ( mental illness) patients get the support they need while recovering through new treatments made available to patients through donations. Previously, well known individuals, sportsmen and celebrities such as Olympian Daniel Kowalski and LIbby Trickett had gotten help from BeyondBlue and have then seen vast improvement to their mental healths. Daniel had even added that he was ‘proud and honoured to be able to speak openly and honestly about mental health and my journey.’ ‘You dont have to let it run or consume your life’.
BeyondBlue had recently conducted a survey, also called the Depression Monitor, aiming to measure the effectiveness of the result of raising awareness and provided knowledge regarding depression and Anxiety. Overall, reports have shown that more individuals understand the impact depression has on the community. Subsequently, reports have also shown that more individuals are recognising the need of getting help and thus have done so, with the number of individuals having rose from 35% to 44% between 2004 and 2012 and most importantly the percentage of individuals getting help have rose from 81% to 88% in 2012.
Personally, i have also witnessed my loved one suffering from depression. Many times, mental illness patients only need a shoulder to cry on and someone to talk to. They might feel as if they are helpless but just being there to hear them out can be all they ever need. He have since seen improvement in his mental health. As much as its tough for sufferers, its hard too, for others who are witnessing love ones enduring such pain while feeling helpless. However, it is often though that when sufferers battle depression, many times its ‘the depression that is acting out, its not them’. they have lost the ability to control their emotions. They did not choose this. They have unfortunately unwillingly lost the battle to mental illnesses.
From the mentioned anecdotes, we can confidently come to a conclusion that patients have since realised a vast improvements in their mental health after seeking help. BeyondBlue not only aims to assist individuals in feeling their best but also provide patients with a sense of belonging so as to enable them with a community whom they can come to for help, while also ensuring them that they are not alone. The sense of belonging and community has proved to be a beneficial way for individuals who suffer from mental illnesses to voice out which could potentially mitigate the issue of mental illness and finally, potentially aid sufferers with speedy recovery.
Mental illness like any other health issues can have a drastic impact on individuals, their loved ones and the quality of (the patient’s) life and deserves as much attention. So what’s making it more acceptable to go undiagnosed? To conclude, losing to mental illness can be a challenge let alone the effects it brings with. Thus it should not be ignored or swept under the carpet as the issue of mental illness could be amplified abruptly. Facts and figures do not lie. Mental illnesses KILLS!! Stop living in denial !! Get Help before it is too late!!
?What is BeyondBlue?
BeyondBlue is an Australian government established to address mental health issues eg depression, anxiety that may be affecting individuals.BeyondBlue are assisting individuals with mental illnesses by providing programs, advices and knowledge as to how they should go about dealing with mental illnesses. Programs such as BeyondBarriers, Reducing Stigma in Men and Healthy Dads were established to encourage men to take action against their mental health by seeking professional help and support. BeyondBlue has also established a reference group to assist patients, called BlueVoice, Beyondblue’s reference group for people who suffer from depression or anxiety. BeyondBlue offers 24 hours helpline, online forums, chat rooms, which individuals could get hold of upon realising they could be suffering from mental illness. Subsequently, BeyondBlue also offers easy access to BlueVoice. Apart from that, individuals are also able to join BlueVoice to support others who suffer from mental illness. BeyondBlue aims to help patients through its successfully raised funds for mental illnesses through fundraising trips, marathons, exhibitions and bakeoffs, just to name a few events to provide patients with more equipped knowledge as well as the treatment they need. In the past years, BeyondBlue has organised trips to China’s Great Wall. The funds that have been raised will go towards the Walk for Wellbeing campaign. This campaign aims to raise funds for patience battling mental illness.
What is mental illness?
‘A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with each other’. (Australian Government, 2007). It can be categorised into depression and anxiety, mainly. Depression is a mental condition when individuals feel prolonged sadness over a duration of time. Anxiety, like depression is a prolonged feeling of anxiousness- when the feeling does not fade away.Depression and anxiety not only has an impact on sufferers but also their relationship with others, their everyday life, thus acting as a hindrance for them to perform at their best. On a more serious note, however, depression and anxiety could lead to suicide.
1. How do i look out for myself if i think i have a mental illness? How do i look after myself?How can I do my part in helping the community? What do i do if i need urgent assistance?
Individuals are encouraged to reach out to their family, friends, co workers, talk to your GP, Make an action plan, Making a safety plan, consider using medication, stay healthy- maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, eating well and getting enough sleep, staying connected and giving back to the community – Looking after your wellbeing by staying connected with your mates eradicates the feeling of loneliness and as if no one understands you.Having that conversation- Talking about your mental illness might be hard but keeping it in will do more damage to you. Get support from close ones will help you recover faster. Subsequently, individuals can contribute to the community by helping by joining bluevoices ; team beyondblue, Donating to beyondblue, joining WalkforWelbeing. This campaign involves trekking through China’s Great Wall of China to fundraise.
Monthly & workplace giving. Monthly donors provide BeyondBlue with a stable and reliable fund to provide information and support to those in need. Individuals can also help by contributing in workplace giving- this is a way to donate to a particular charity directly. In time of emergency help, you can reach out to the BeyondBlue Support Service which is available 24/7 or call Suicide Call Black Service or Lifeline. Alternatively, Individuals can get help from the National Helplines and websites such as Black Dog Institute, Carers Australia, Headspace, Kids Helpline etc.
2. Who does mental illness ( depression and anxiety) affects?Why are Australian men more likely to suffer from the development of mental illness as compared to women?
Mental illness could affect individuals who belong to different age groups, from children to senior citizens. In Australia, two in thirteen men suffer from depression and anxiety. Men are deemed to be more vulnerable to the development of mental illness because they are more likely to bottle things up, thus letting it go undetected.
3. Who are BeyondBlue’s partner?
BeyondBlue is currently working with Movember Foundation, Yong and Well CRC, Andrology Australia, to raise awareness for mentally ill patients, reduce the impact of depression and anxiety among young men while also promoting help- seeking behaviour via the use of technology, while also to enhance the reproductive health of males through community and professional education programs.
4. What are the signs and symptoms? What are the contributors of these mental illnesses- depression and anxiety?
Individuals who are experiencing depression or anxiety might experience different signs but they generally range from isolating oneself from family and friends, the inability to focus to feeling frustrated, guilty and overwhelmed. The cause of depression and anxiety could range from different factors. For eg family history, personality and the use of alcohol and drugs. Whereas the causes of anxiety could be of stressful events ( eg work stress, pregnancy, finance etc), physical health problems family history of health conditions.
5. What are the different treatment options available for mental illness patients?
Mental illness patients are able to access different beneficial treatments ranging from psychological, medical to online e-therapists.
6. Who are the few BeyondBlue ambassadors?
Nathan Thompson- Media commentator and former AFL player
Margie Warrell- Leadership advocate, speaker and author
Tony McManus- Mental health advocate
Daniel Kowalski OAM- Olympian
Brad McEwan- Television Presenter
7. What are the stages or recovery for depression and anxiety?
Shock: at the fact that you have to deal with something difficult in which u have not had any previous experience of.
Denial: the inability to accept the fact that you have lost to depression
Despair and Anger at having to deal with the condition and its related difficulties
Acceptance about having developed the condition, how people see you and how you see yourself.
Coping- looking for new ways to live and curb challenges and changes.
8. Are individuals able to combat mental illness without the help of professionals?
Depending on how severe individual’s mental illness is might be challenging to combat it without the help of professionals thus it is advised to consult health professionals.