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National Mental Health Month

20 October 2020

National Mental Health Month 

October is National Mental Health Month and it’s never been more important to reach out if you need help. With 2020 being particularly hard on the mental health of Australians with COVID-19, natural disasters, financial difficulties and illness we believe National Mental Health Month can be an effective way of helping Australians get back on track with their mental health.


What is National Mental Health Month?

“National Mental Health Month is an initiative of the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA) to advocate for and raise awareness of Australian mental health. It is an important time where the Australian community comes together to raise awareness that #MentalHealthMatters” – MHFA 2020 

National Mental Health Month encourages us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of if we have a lived experience of mental illness or not. It also gives us the opportunity to understand the importance of good mental health in our everyday lives, to break the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourages us to seek help when needed. 

Throughout October, MHFA have organised events to attract and unite Australians of all ages and backgrounds to raise awareness of good mental health for all. You can find out what activities are available on the MHFA website.


What are the most common mental health issues?

Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, one in four Australians – one in three women and one in five men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. Anxiety can affect your ability to:

  • sleep
  • concentrate 
  • undertake basic tasks. 

The main factors that can cause anxiety are stress, health related issues or a traumatic experience.

Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are sudden instances of panic and fear, which can sometimes occur randomly without any reason. A panic attack is a response to a stressful situation, where you feel like you are losing control. Panic attacks are very common, with up to five in every 100 Australians experiencing a panic attack at some stage in their life. Someone who experiences panic attacks should not assume they have an anxiety disorder, as it is a condition that can occur to anyone due to increased levels of stress or fear. Some of the most common symptoms of panic attacks are difficulty breathing, light headedness, increased heart rate and nausea.

Depression

While most of us can feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health. While we don’t know exactly what causes depression, a number of things are often linked to its development, including:

  • long-term unemployment
  • living in an abusive or uncaring relationship
  • long-term isolation or loneliness
  • stress. 

(Source: healthdirect)


Reduce the stigma

Stigma mainly exists because people don't understand mental illness. A key part of reducing the stigma related to mental health is for everyone to have a good understanding of mental illness. It is also important that we continue to challenge misconceptions by:

  • being open to conversations about mental illness
  • educating ourselves about mental illness
  • listening to and understanding people with mental illness
  • raising awareness
  • offering support to people who are struggling
  • encouraging acceptance and equity for people who suffer from mental illness.


Seek help

It’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health concerns and to seek help if you feel you need it. Your mental health is just as important and your physical health, so don’t be afraid to seek support and talk through what is worrying you with your GP or a mental health professional. We have included some helpful resources below that may assist you under further information.

We also encourage you to contact us if your ability to meet your tax practitioner obligations is affected. We will work with you to resolve any outstanding matters you may have.

Remember, #MentalHealthMatters.


Further information

  • Mental Health Foundation Australia – mental health professionals, people with a mental health condition and their families, and related organisations concerned with mental health. 
  • Beyond Blue – mental health and wellbeing support organisation.
  • Lifeline – national charity providing 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
  • Black Dog Institute – independent not-for-profit medical research institute.
  • Head to Health – Government digital mental health gateway.
  • Everymind – mental health and wellbeing advice for small business owners. 
  • Health direct – Government free health advice service.


Last modified: 20 October 2020