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According to the World Health Organisation, globally there are over 970 million people who suffer from mental illnesses. In Australia alone, over 8 million or 2 in 5 Aussies suffer from a mental illness. But there exists a stigma surrounding mental health that is so widespread that it prevents people from seeking care.
This can have a devastating effect on our lives, our families, and even our greater communities. So what’s there to do? Well, if you, or someone you know, has a mental health condition but is hesitant to talk to you or others, then the best place place to start would be with a counsellor.
Over 700,000 people die to suicide every year. This makes it the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. By accepting that mental illness is real and dangerous, we can help get rid of the self-stigma that mental illnesses create and save lives.
In many countries and cultures, mental illness is not recognised as a real illness. In some cultures, mental wellbeing can even be a foreign concept. These perceptions can lead to the individual covering it up, feeling guilty, or refusing to find a counsellor.
As a result of this, many people don’t acknowledge they need care, or that it may help. Throughout all of Australia only 7% of adults seek care from mental health practitioners like psychologists.
But mental illness is not a figment of someone’s imagination, nor is it a sign of weakness. And seeking help should never be something to be afraid of.
Before you can begin to dispel the stigma, you must know your own hidden biases. Look below for the most common myths and misconceptions around mental health. While reading these ask yourself:
When it comes to physical trauma and illness, its easier to be accepting because we can see the physical signs and symptoms. With mental illness, we’re often quick to dismiss it as being made up or imaginary. But mental health is very real.
Friends and family are critical components in an affected person’s life. You can help someone who has a mental health condition in these ways: