Coronavirus has changed the conversation
For the last few months, coronavirus seemed to be all anybody was talking about. It was all over the news, information dominated our social media feeds, and every company we forgot we gave our emails to wanted us to know what they were doing “in these unprecedented times”.
And while it may seem like a joke at the expense of these companies, viewed another way you might say it highlights a shift in how mental health is being discussed in general parlance.
Could a global pandemic have given us a new understanding of mental health?
Undoubtedly, Australia is bracing for a rise in mental illness (especially among the younger generation) as the social, financial and health pressures of COVID-19 bear down.
However, even the fact that we – media outlets, social influencers, friends and family, and those corporations mentioned above – are openly discussing things that may have been uncomfortable a few months ago is evidence that the stigma around mental illness is disappearing.
Why it’s important to remove the stigma
Around Australia, 4.3 million people every year receive mental health-related prescriptions from health professionals. Almost half (45.5%) of our population will experience mental illness first-hand during their lifetime, and many more will have loved ones or friends who need support.
The first step in providing help for somebody experiencing mental illness is to understand how common, crippling, and confusing these conditions are. So the more we read about mental health, and the more comfortable we are talking about our own mental well-being, the better our chances become of dealing with the looming mental health crisis.
Coronavirus is a truly devastating pandemic. But, if we can come out the other side with a new understanding of mental health as a result of increased attention from news media and social media, then we might all be better off in the long-term.
How to use this new understanding of mental health for good
If mental illness is an issue you are passionate about addressing, then you may be in the ideal position to turn passion into action and help other people experiencing mental health problems.
Becoming a qualified Counsellor, or studying an allied health course such as Certificate IV in Mental Health or Mental Health Peer Work, is a way you can harness this new understanding of mental health COVID-19 has inspired, and provide the essential support many Australians will soon rely on.