Monthly Archives

October 2016

Understanding that mental health treatment works

“Depression will steal your life.” Those blunt and true words are from music legend Bruce Springsteen’s recently published autobiography Born to Run. In it he writes of the benefit of finding mental health treatment. Springsteen, like so many others, was affected by mental health problems throughout his life. Talking about depression, he wrote “you’re under its sway” and described it as taking life “right out from underneath you”.

But Springsteen realised the importance of seeking mental health treatment.

“Would I have been able to hold things together? I don’t know, ” he writes. “Without it, it’s much easier for things to come apart. So I kinda got to it at the right time.”

Seeking and having treatment are important to obtain the best chance of recovering and managing mental health conditions. Australian mental health advocacy organisations say that people often postpone seeking treatment due to clear of being labelled with a mental illness. One youth mental health organisation, Headspace, has revealed that half of the over 2,200 young Australians between the ages of 12 to 25 wait six months before getting treatment for mental health issues. Certainly not all of them waited because of the fear of stigma over mental health issues. Many of the young people surveyed said money was an issue. Despite the growing change of attitudes surrounding stigma of mental health, more than half were worried about what others would think of them if they were receiving professional help.

The research also revealed that over a third of the young people said they believed they could not be helped by mental health treatment. Springsteen’s openness in writing about depression seems to be a valuable thing. The conversation needs to keep going. The attitudes towards mental health many be changing but the value of seeking help for conditions like depression need to be emphasised just as much.

Spring and changes to our mental health

It’s Spring and the gardens at Retreat South are looking great! Spring is a great time when we can shake off the Winter blues and get active in the warmer weather. Most people think that Winter is the season that effects our mood and mental health. With some people it is different and they can be troubled by seasonal changes.

Research shows that the change in seasons can effect our well being. While many people enjoy the renewed energy of Spring, it can be a different matter for others. The increased sunlight brings feelings of well being. However, people with depression can find Spring brings a very different feeling. Instead of feeling invigorated, people suffering from depression can feel the opposite. They can feel overwhelmed by the environment and it becomes hard to bear.

This ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ is a condition that is not just about getting the ‘winter blues’. People with this condition usually experience symptoms during the Winter months but the change to Spring and Summer can bring anxiety, sleeplessness and even trigger depressive episodes.

Depression is treatable and the earlier that treatment begins the better the outcome.

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day, the important day of focus during Mental Health Week. Over the last thirty years events like Mental Health Week have done great work in raising the awareness of mental health care and mental health issues. These events and campaigns have raised important issues about mental health and helped to Change some wrong and negative perceptions about mental illness.

These changing attitudes have helped reduce the stigma and discrimination about having mental health problems. Mental health advocacy organisations have brought research into mental illness and the way it is treated into the public arena. The greater discussion about mental health into all areas of policy making and reform has seen improvement of mental health care services.

There is still a long way to go. As many as 20 per cent of Australians experience mental health problems each year. Better and wider understanding of mental health has been a great thing. It is crucial that we have this wider understanding of mental health because part of that understanding is that fact that mental health issues affect so many people in our communities.

The Australian Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Week has helped changed the attitudes and understanding of mental health. So many high profile advocates, speakers and organisations have given their support and are spreading the word about mental health issues across every aspect of our society. If you want to know more about mental health issues, we have some listed some helpful support services on our resources page.