The importance of good Mental Health Awareness
Millions of people across the globe are affected by mental illnesses. It is estimated that 300 million people suffer from depression, 260 million from anxiety disorders, 60 million from bipolar, and 23 million from schizophrenia. It is also estimated that nearly 800,000 people die from suicide each year, and that for every adult that succeeds, at least 20 more attempt it.
Mental illness and suicide are global epidemics and something that we at Synapse, as a global company, are acutely aware of, both in Australia and via our international network. One example being our partnership with leading UK psychological healthcare provider, CBT Clinics, who make it their mission to transform psychological healthcare by giving people the help they need, when they need it, how they want it. From both a corporate and individual perspective, regardless of location.
Due to the stigma surrounding mental illness, most people who suffer from mental health issues don’t tell others that they’re struggling. The build-up of damaging thoughts can lead them to consider suicide, as they feel that they’re a burden upon others and that everyone would be better off without them. Mental illness could be affecting someone close to us, and we’re not aware of it because of their silence.
Therefore we wanted to use a blog piece, in support of recent worldwide press about mental health awareness, to highlight a couple of key calendar dates where perhaps your practice or company could encourage healthy behaviours around mental health. Initiatives like this can help to cultivate permanent supportive behaviours. All of us can help to reduce the stigma!
World Mental Health Day – 10th October
Every year on October 10th, World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of the issues and stigmas surrounding mental illness, and supports efforts to help those currently struggling. Recent evidence suggests that mental illness is affecting more and more people each year, and that it is increasingly difficult for people who are suffering to access healthcare systems. Mental illnesses affect millions of people worldwide, and without support, they can result in job loss, social isolation, alcohol and drug addictions, or as mentioned above even suicide.
Mental Illness: The Statistics
Depression is the most common mental illness across the globe. It is estimated that 300 million people suffer from it, affecting more women than men. Symptoms of depression include sadness or numbness, low self-esteem, loss of interest in activities, poor eating and sleeping habits, and disturbance in school, work and social lives.
Anxiety affects 260 million people, however, due to the subtlety and common occurrence of anxious symptoms, it can often be hard to diagnose. People who suffer from anxiety may suffer from constant panic attacks, stress, dread, fear, obsessive thinking, and avoidance from social situations.
Mental health sufferers often say they feel completely alone in the world, which only makes their symptoms worse. If you think that someone you know may be suffering from a mental illness, encourage an open dialogue. Avoid asking them too directly and aggressively if they act reserved. Ask about their day and find out if they would like to tell you anything. If they don’t wish to talk about it, encourage them to talk to someone else.
Obviously this is a worldwide issue and one we are proud to see that Australia is continuing to tackle. Beyond Blue is one such initiative that aims to assist the estimated three million Australians currently experiencing anxiety or depression. Building bridges for everyone (at work, home, school or online) to have the confidence to support those around them, making the key issues part of everyday conversation. Breaking down barriers one step at a time.
Another such initiative is R U OK? Day which is in September.
What is R U OK? Day – 13th September 2018
R U OK? Day not only promotes suicide awareness, but encourages people to connect with their loved ones and approach them if they’re not seeming like themselves. This not-for-profit organisation provides resources to individuals, schools, workplaces and communities so people can understand how to approach someone and give them help if needed. This practice is something that we, at Synapse, wholeheartedly support and welcome into our daily business practice.
R U OK? At Work
Workplaces can often be a difficult environment to open up about your struggles due to fear of judgement or termination of employment. By encouraging a warm and open culture, employees can work in a safe and happy environment without feeling overwhelmed.
We at Synapse believe that we are a big multi-cultural family and hope to cultivate an environment whereby people can openly raise issues or emotions that they are experiencing. This is a continual development programme for any successful business.
R U OK? At School
Encouraging regular conversations at a young age can help children open up about their feelings and issues at school. Resources are provided for all ages, from kindergarten to high school.
R U OK? At Uni
Uni can be an exciting time, but the pressure of studies, assignments, finances and personal relationships can take a toll on students. R U OK? has collaborated with several universities to come up with ways students can talk to others about their worries and struggles. We have a registered training academy due to launch this year which we hope provides students with a new method of learning and one which will fit more around their schedule and finances. Watch this space.
R U OK? Rural and Remote
Due to the lack of resources, people residing in rural and remote towns are more likely to be affected by mental health issues than those living in metropolitan areas. Residents can download the free ‘Mateship Manual’ so they can approach someone they know if they seem like they’re feeling overwhelmed.
Speak with Synapse Medical Services
Synapse provide medical administration services across the globe. Therefore we are part of rich cultures, diverse networks and lots of different people. If anything in this blog piqued your interest we would love to hear your companies approach to mental health awareness. We are constantly learning and want to assist the people we come into contact with in the best possible way.
We would also be happy to share information on any of the links referenced in this piece.