Raising awareness and breaking down the stigma of mental health is the focus for Vinnies this year as part of Mental Health Week 2020.
With the theme of Strengthening our community – Live, Learn, Work, Play, Mental Health week aims to increase awareness of mental health issues and in recent times with the COVID-19 crisis, it is more important than ever that we reduce barriers often associated with mental health and promote our mental wellbeing.
According to the Black Dog Institute (2017), one in five Australians aged 16-85 experiences mental illness in a year with the most common being depression, anxiety and substance use disorders. Statistically this means that it could be you or a loved one that may experience mental health issues and Hazel Beirne, Vinnies Mental Health Service Manager says that despite the figures, the stigma that surrounds mental health is more than often the cause for people not seeking support.
“We believe that Mental Health awareness should be promoted in every day conversations and not just one a year 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 when we may need support.” Hazel said.
Vinnies Mental Health Service provides supported accommodation to individuals with an enduring and persistent mental health diagnosis. It uses a recovery orientated practice that creates and supports an environment that enables people living with a mental diagnosis to live a meaningful and contributing life in the community.
Vinnies Mental Health Service invites people to take some steps that can help break down barriers and raise awareness on our wellbeing.
- Know the facts! Educate yourself about mental illness including substance use disorders by researching the facts from reputable sources (eg: The Black Dog Institute and Beyond Blue).
- Be aware of your attitudes and behaviour which are often underpinned by our prejudices which we are sometimes unaware of.
- The way we speak can affect the attitudes of others so try and recognise the importance of this in our every day language.
- You can educate others by passing on the facts, having a positive attitude, challenging myths or stereotypes surrounding mental illness and misinformation.
- Support people and treat everyone with compassion, and understand that mental health challenges, including addiction, are often caused by an experience of trauma, of which the person experiencing it, had no control over.
As part of Mental Health Week, let’s change the way we talk, think and promote mental health so that acceptance and compassion can be go-to response. We can build a supportive community by learning from each other and by it becoming a shared responsibility, all take part in combating stigma around mental health.
For more information on Vinnies Mental Health Service click HERE
For more information on Mental Health Week visit mentalhealthweek.org.au