Members Article – Mental Health Week

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Mental Health is an issue that touches us all, as we or someone close to us may suffer from a mental illness; 45% of the population will experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives. Mental illness is the 3rd leading cause of disability burden. In a 12 month period, 1 in 5 Australians will experience mental illness with 14% affected by an anxiety disorder and 6% experiencing a major depressive episode. One third of young people will have had an episode of mental illness by the time they are 25, and it is estimated that 85% of homeless people are mentally unwell. For those people affected they face stigmatization and discrimination due to their illness every day; and only half of those affected will actually receive professional treatment for their illness.
Every October across Australia we celebrate Mental Health Week (or in NSW – Mental Health Month), as part of a national mental health campaign which is centred around World Mental Health Day, celebrated each year on October 10. Mental Health Week is about raising awareness and understanding of mental illness in the community, reducing the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness and promoting positive mental health and wellbeing.

The theme for Mental Health Week this year was ‘be YOUnique!’ This theme is about promoting acceptance and understanding the impact that being proud of who we are can have on our wellbeing. Recognising and embracing what makes us all different and accepting people for who they are. Let’s celebrate our strengths and differences and be ourselves! Encourage everybody to consider their strengths and challenges and nurture everyone’s ‘unique worth’, taking the opportunity to support the people in our lives and celebrate their individual qualities and what makes them unique.

Gna Ka Lun, the adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit, celebrated Mental Health Month by holding a morning tea for all staff and patients to attend. Staff were encourage to wear blue to show their support of World Mental Health Day (this was choose to help staff participate and get involved).Cake and fruit platters covered the tables that were surrounded by medical, nursing and allied health staff and the young people. During morning tea, everyone was encouraged to nominate one quality that made them ‘YOUnique’ and write it down on a mental health postcard. These were placed on a wall in the unit for all to see and add to if they wished. During the month, the young people decorated the unit with posters and art work which they completed especially for Mental Health Month and World Mental Health Day.

Mental Health Week serves as a useful reminder for us all to think about the mental health of ourselves and those around us. It is a great opportunity to engage all member of the community in activities that can enhance their mental health and wellbeing. 

The Postcards on which everyone’s ‘YOUnique’ quality was written on.

Submitted by: Kylie Rice Diversional Therapist

For more information on Mental Health and services available, go to:
Mental Health Australia –
Mental Health Association of NSW –
Department of Health Mental Health –
Headspace –
Sane Australia –

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