During Mental Health week 2020, we review the importance of raising awareness and how to provide support.
The awareness of mental health has come a long way in recent years and the way people think and respond to this condition has changed enormously. However, there is still a lot of work to be done to challenge the stigma and to provide the people mental health affects the support they need.
The disorders, symptoms and support.
There are many different types of mental health conditions and recognising the symptoms can sometimes be hard to identify. In this blog, we outline the primary disorders, the symptoms to look out for and what you can do help fight the illness.
One in five Australians aged between 16 and 85 experience mental health illness in any given year and it includes a wide range of disorders including depression, anxiety, stress, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Each disorder varies in its severity and these conditions can have a dramatic effect on not only the individual but on the entire family. It is important to understand how to recognise the symptoms and to seek help immediately.
Identifying the Symptoms
1. Feeling anxious or worried
We all get worried or stressed from time to time. But anxiety could be the sign of a mental health issue if it’s constant and interferes all the time. Other symptoms of anxiety may include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, headache, restlessness, diarrhoea or a racing mind.
2. Feeling depressed or unhappy
Has someone you care about been sad or irritable for the last few weeks or more, lacking in motivation and energy or are teary all the time, they might be dealing with depression.
3. Emotional outbursts
Everyone has different moods, but sudden and dramatic changes in mood, such as extreme distress or anger, can be a symptom of mental illness.
4. Sleep problems
Generally, we need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Persisting changes to a person’s sleep patterns could be a symptom of a mental illness. For example, insomnia could be a sign of anxiety or substance abuse.
5. Weight or appetite changes
Many of us want to lose a few kilos, but for some people fluctuating weight or rapid weight loss could be one of the warning signs of a mental illness, such as depression or an eating disorder.
6. Quiet or withdrawn
If a friend or loved one is regularly isolating themselves, they may have depression, bipolar, a psychotic disorder, or another mental health issue. Refusing to join in social activities may be a sign they need help.
7. Substance abuse
Are you worried a loved one is drinking too much? Using substances, such as alcohol or drugs, to cope can be a sign of, and a contributor to, mental health issues.
8. Feeling guilty or worthless
Thoughts like ‘I’m a failure’, ‘It’s my fault’ or ‘I’m worthless’ are all possible signs of a mental health issue, such as depression. When severe, a person may express a feeling to hurt or kill themselves. This feeling could mean the person is suicidal and urgent help is needed. Call Triple zero (000) for an ambulance immediately.
9. Changes in behaviour or feelings
A mental illness may start out as subtle changes to a person’s feelings, thinking and behaviour. If something doesn’t seem ‘quite right’, it’s important to start the conversation about getting help.
(Symptom source: Health direct)
Support and joining the Mental Health Care profession.
Thankfully in the year 2020, the stigma of mental health is slowly subsiding as we continue to educate the community about this illness and how serious the condition is in our society. For detailed information about where to seek support, treatment and advice is listed below.
beyondblue / Blue Knot Foundation Helpline/ Lifeline / MensLine Australia / Butterfly Foundation’s National Helpline / Ed Hope / eHeadSpace / Kids Helpline / MindSpot / Qlife / PANDA / SANE Australia / Suicide Call Back Service / Open Arms
If you are interested in learning more about the mental health care industry and becoming an Ageing Support Professional there are many different career paths you could pursue. At TrainSmart Australia we offer a comprehensive range of Certificates and Diploma’s in the health and community services area including courses in mental health and counselling.