Mental health week
By Victoria Saule
No, this isn’t the opportunity to take a bunch of mental health days from work
Josh Thomas’s legendary takedown of Bob Katter on Q and A’s marked the start of a week focused on raising awareness of an illness currently effecting 1 in 5 Australians.
Yes, this week is Mental Health Week - a state run initiative focused on raising awareness and reducing the stigma that continues to be attached to mental illnesses.
The week coincides with World Mental Health Day, run by the World Federation of Mental Health.
“No-one’s life is untouched by mental illness and the more we talk about it the better equipped we all are to help those around us. The isolation, fear and stigma around mental illness is the first thing that needs to go,” says Rove McManus- an ambassador for the ABC’s Mental As initiative.
Mental As – the reason for Sunday’s Q and A’s focus on mental health was inspired by Mental Health Week and aims to raise donations towards mental health research.
“It’s still a taboo subject and I think that’s one of the greatest contributors to why it’s becoming an epidemic,” stated Louise Byrne during the program.
However, Mental Health Week has already generated a significant amount of media attention directed towards national mental health services, which are especially lacking in rural Australia.
Government policy towards mentally ill is also under analysis, with claims that the proposed changes to the disability pension could mean those suffering mental illness receive less money.
Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are highest amongst young adults, who still believe that negative connotations are still attached to these ailments.
Males who have experienced mental illness also felt constrained by the out-dated yet prominent gender stereotype to appear emotionally stable.
Triple-J’s Hack program – targeted towards engaging young adults in a current affairs discourse- will feature discussions on mental illness all throughout the week.