Mental Health Awareness Month 2022

October of each year is Mental Health Awareness Month. The aim for the month is to be open about mental health. Take time for yourself, find tasks and hobbies that you enjoy, and be sure to check in with family and friends to see how their mental health is.

The theme of Mental Health Awareness Month this year is ‘tune in’. Tune in by spending quality time with those you love, whether you’re conversing, playing a game or watching a movie. Being in the company of other people is a great way to improve everyone’s mental health. Also, don’t forget to tune in to yourself with how you are feeling and how you can look to improve your mental health. You are important!

It’s important to recognise mental health as it has an impact on every aspect of life. It affects how we think, feel and act. A poor state of wellbeing can lead to a lack of motivation or feeling sluggish and isolated. Recognising when someone is struggling mentally (and when you are!) is essential. Here are a few warning signs to look out for if someone is struggling mentally:

  • being less productive
  • constantly feeling tired
  • different eating habits
  • increased stress levels
  • isolating themselves
  • not participating in activities they enjoy.

If you see someone experiencing any of these, it may not be linked to their mental health but it doesn’t hurt to check in and see how they are feeling. They could be struggling, and one conversation could save a life.

2022 mental health events

October is not the only time of year to focus on mental health. Throughout the year, there have been days and weeks dedicated to mental health such as International Day of Happiness (20 March), Infant Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 June) and just last month R U Okay? Day (8 September). These dedicated days and weeks allow the message of being mentally healthy to be portrayed in different ways. It shows its importance and why it needs to be consistently spoken about.

Mental health in Australia

All around the world, people struggle with mental health. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed if you are struggling mentally. In Australia alone, studies have shown that from 2020 to 2021, 43.7% of people between the ages of 16 and 85 experienced a mental disorder.

One aspect that affected mental health negatively was Covid. People being placed in lockdown was the main driver of this. Being in lockdown meant people were stuck in their homes, struggling with their mental health more than ever. Between 16 March 2020 (the start of the first lockdown) and 1 May 2022, over 29 million Medicare-subsidised mental health-related services were processed.

Statistics like this show how important mental health is. It shows that you should work to nurture and protect your wellbeing. People will listen to you. You’re not on your own.

How to improve your mental health

Self-care is often neglected with so many distractions, however, it should be a priority. Protecting your mental health and wellbeing can help you achieve your goals and live life to the fullest. It can help you conquer your fears and propel you to achieve your dreams. So here are several ways to practice self-care to protect and enhance your mental health:

  • connect with people – creating and building relationships with people can help you to identify a sense of belonging and self-worth. Take that step out of your comfort zone and meet some new people.
  • exercise – going outdoors for a walk or going to the gym can be very therapeutic. Working out can build your self-esteem, give you endorphins and help you to become physically healthier. Even if it’s for 30 minutes, find the time to exercise. It helps so much.
  • learn new skills – trying new activities is a great form of self-care. Doing this opens the door to meeting new people who enjoy similar activities to yourself. Learning new skills can also give people a confidence boost and build their sense of purpose. Do some research into potential hobbies you will enjoy and give it a go.
  • sleep – people say there’s too much to do in one day and as a result, sleep will be sacrificed. Getting the right amount of sleep is so important in allowing you to function during the day and you will feel motivated to achieve more. So go and organise that sleep schedule, you can do what you missed out on the next day. It’s not worth giving up valuable rest time for.
  • speak to someone – whether it’s going to see a psychologist or therapist, or simply speaking to a family member or friend, it can really help. People like to neglect how they’re feeling and distract themselves, but sometimes the best thing to do is to speak about it. People won’t judge you and they may be going through the same thing.

Remember to tune in to your family and friends as well as yourself. Taking care of your mental health is so important and while October is Mental Health Awareness Month, take the time to look after your mental health every day. Remember, you are not alone.

If you’re struggling mentally, here is a list of a few resources that can enable you to get the help you need:

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