Thursday, 2 October 2014

How is YOUR mental health?

With Mental Health Week coming up next week it is a good time to take stock of how we are travelling mentally and emotionally. Most people in our society have had either personal experience of a mental illness or know someone who has, whether it be a family member, friend or colleague.

In our state of Queensland, the theme of 2014 Mental Health Week is ...

 According to the MIND CLICKS website:

'MIND CLICKS focuses on the moment you click with a person, activity or group and find a sense of understanding and support that helps you feel more positive, more in control and more aware of your mental health. It’s the ‘ah-ha’ moment where understanding the importance of proactive mental health clicks into place.'

I don't always 'get' the themes that are thought up each year but I do know that, as a whole, we all need to educate ourselves about this very common health issue which touches more lives than most of us realise. We also need to take good care of our own personal mental health and put in place a plan of action for those times when we feel stressed and anxious. You might like to .... 


...exercise... the birdlife pooing on your washing...

...relax by visiting someone else's quirky garden...

...or get out in your own garden and grow something beautiful.

We all need to talk more about mental illness and bring it out into the open and accept the fact that a brain can become unwell just like any other part of our body. Unfortunately for both the sufferer and their family and friends, a 'broken brain' affects their behaviour making it extremely difficult at times to cope with the resultant stress. There are several organisations which can help in these situations including ARAFMI which has branches in each state of Australia and in the US help can be sought from NAMI. You can find links to other organisations on the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

 The ABC is showing Mental As... programmes next week which may be interesting to watch and I just noted on their website that over $11,400 has been donated already to mental health research.

October 10th is World Mental Health Day and everyone is encouraged to make a mental health promise to themselves. If you wish you can upload your promise to The Promise Wall.

It can be difficult to get help for someone with a mental illness as first you have to find a doctor who understands mental illness and then you have to encourage your friend or relative to actually see the doctor. In some cases where the unwell person refuses to accept the fact that they are sick they can have a condition called anosognosia (lack of insight) and if this rings a bell for anyone reading this you can read more here about Dr. Xavier Amador whose research into this culminated in the writing of  'I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help' which has helped many families understand what is happening with their loved one. The book is also available on Book Depository. Some of his other books are also available including When Someone You Love Is Depressed .

So let's bring mental illness out into the open and talk about it and educate ourselves about a very common condition that is made much worse by ignorance and a lack of understanding. The person trying to cope with feeling so unwell is often already socially isolated so let's get beside them and show them that we care and that they are not alone.


  1. Here Here... Great Post Chel. The word Aspergers is thrown around everywhere these days but so few actually understand what it is and how Aspie's perceive the world. Depression is only part of it and mostly this comes from their confusion in social situations and the lack of understanding from others. Because they look normal and in their own fields are often geniuses, few understand how a simple exchange with another person can leave them so bewildered and misunderstood.

    What i would like to say is consideration needs to be given also to those that are caring for people with mental illness. Most people have no idea how hard is to face this every day and night. My son regularly comes and talks to me and asked me to do things at 3am while im sleeping. I've told him i need to sleep so i can work but at the time he doesn't remember, he just has an immediate need. I'm not asking for sympathy but asking that you look at the people who are carers and not criticize them or throw out ad hoc suggestions which suggests they could do better. Sometimes they are on the brink of collapse into depression themselves. Love my little white pills.

    1. Thanks for your great comment to Nanna Chel's great post, Lynda!
      Blessings, take care....


  2. Yes Lynda, Carers' Week is coming up so I plan to do a post about carers then and the need for them to have support. I know exactly how you feel. I would say the majority of Carers have had to go on medication themselves in order to cope as many become depressed.

  3. Not too bad. Makes it much less hazardous for innocent bystanders.

    1. Ha ha J. I am sure your mental health is quite good :-)

  4. Great post Chel. I worked in mental health and addictions for many, many years and am closely connected to people who live with mental health symptoms.Stigma is huge, huge, huge. Listen to how people speak about mental illness even when they don't know what they are saying. Stigma is one reason people do not seek help. Thanks for reminding people to do that :)

    1. I agree that stigma is still a huge problem but it is good to see that mental illness is now being talked about more in the media and celebrities are admitting they are struggling with mental health issues and are seeking treatment. There is still a long way to go though.

  5. Also don't think people realize how much drug abuse/addiction is self medication for mental issues, as the mother of a bipolar young man who is a recovering meth addict I know I got a hard education, and if we had known the symptoms and what to watch for earlier we might have been more of a help. If nothing else we would have perhaps been a little easier on ourselves! Mental illness affects the whole family! Great post!

  6. Yes, I know the feeling Kathy. It is quite traumatising. It doesn't help when families have no idea what is going on. The medicating with drugs is quite common and very unfortunate.

  7. Great post! As the mother of a son dx with sz-affective in 1999, I have learned alot over the years dealing with the ups and downs of the disease. It was a life-saver for me, finding other caregivers going thru the same thing, to be there for support and encouragement. Made some life-long friends all over the world. Yes, the stigma is still there regarding MH, but it is getting better finally. NAMI is a great organization here in the US. Keep talking about it.

  8. Hi Linnette. Yes the stigma is there there but things are improving slowly in that area and we still have a long way to go. Thanks for popping in here as I was wondering where you were :-)


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