Mental Health Week aims to increase awareness of mental health issues awareness and break down the stigma of in the community.
In recent times with the COVID-19 crisis, it is more important than ever that we reduce barriers associated with mental health. This was reflected in this year’s Mental Health Week theme ‘Strengthening our community – Live, Learn, Work, Play’.
According to the Black Dog Institute (2017), one in five Australians aged 16-85 experiences mental illness each year with the most common being depression, anxiety and substance use disorders.
Mental Health Week each year helps us promote mental well being and highlights the work Vinnies does in our Mental Health Service. Our service provides supported accommodation to individuals with an enduring and persistent mental health diagnosis. It uses recovery orientated practices that create and support an environment that enables people living with a mental diagnosis to live a meaningful and contributing life in the community.
Odd Sock Day
Residents in our supported accommodation, got together during Mental Health Week with an “Odd Sock” day. The idea behind this is to demonstrate that everyone can have good and bad days, or an “odd day” and this can help people start the conversation around their mental health. Talking about our mental health can increase awareness of strategies or tools we may need, whatever that might look like, to help support us during these times.
Vinnies Mental Health Services support residents to develop their mental health wellness plans which are individual to each person. Hazel Beirne, Vinnies Mental Health Service Manager says there is great benefit to everyone having a mental health plan as we are all on our own mental health journey’s.
“We believe that Mental Health awareness should be promoted in every day conversations and not just once a year or when someone is struggling or unwell. Having an awareness and understanding about our mental health means that we can begin to know when we are not okay, and break down the barriers to reaching out for help when we may need support.” Hazel said.
We can build a supportive community by learning from each other and having shared responsibility in combating stigma around mental health. By changing the way we talk, think and promote mental health, acceptance and compassion can be the go-to response.