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World Mental Health Day - October 10th


3 million Australians are currently living with anxiety or depression, you are not alone.

It often surprises people to realize how common mental illness is. Almost half of all Australian adults will experience some form of mental health disorder in their lives. In addition to that, 1 in 5 adult Australians suffer an episode of mental illness in any given year. Mental illness affects people at every stage of life. Sometimes we have enough reserve to get better on our own by focusing on aspects of self care, such as getting more sleep, doing more exercise and eating well. Other times, no matter how much effort we put in, we continue to not feel well mentally, and that is when seeking help from a health professional can assist with your recovery.

The year 2020 has posed unique challenges for many, both here in Australia and all around the world. The global coronavirus pandemic has led to dramatic changes in the way we live our lives and affected the way we interact with others. Many of us have had enforced changes on our occupation, our hobbies, and the way we stay in touch with family and friends. These changes have put many of us in a vulnerable state for experiencing more stress, anxiety and depression. The social distancing measures have limited our ability to carry out our normal methods of recreation & relaxation, and staying connect with our loved ones physically. For some of us, these are difficult times. Feeling connected with others is one of the most important factors in staying healthy mentally and emotionally.

Other important factors for self care include:

- Healthy diet and regular exercise

- Getting enough rest and sleep

- Practice of mindfulness & meditation (available through smartphone apps)

Symptoms of anxiety and depression include: not enjoying things that you used to love doing, feeling withdrawn from social settings, more irritable, less patient, exhaustion, struggling to concentrate, lacking motivation, and feeling overwhelmed by activities that you used to cope quite well with doing.

A comprehensive list of symptoms for anxiety and depression can be found on these websites for more information.

- Black dog institute - www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

- Beyond Blue - www.beyondblue.org.au

The above websites also provide useful information surrounding mental health conditions, and tips on how to optimise and maintain one’s mental health.

Sometimes when intense emotions build to an extreme, one can find themselves in a state of crisis and feel that they are in need of immediate help. The good news is that there is help. If you are feeling the stress of isolation and at a loss of knowing how to process those feelings, your GP is a great first port of call. All of the GPs at Next Practice Victoria Park are trained and happy to look after patients with mental health issues. Please make an appointment to come see us if you would like some assistance.

In addition to making an appointment to see your GP, the following numbers/services are useful to call after hours or if your GP is not immediately available.

- Lifeline 131 114

- Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL) - 1300 555 788

- Kid’s Helpline - 1800 55 1800

- CAHMS Emergency Telehealth Service - 1800 048 636 (phone and video call support for children and adolescents in mental health crisis)

- Hospital emergency department 24/7

Authors: Dr Chieh Cheng & Dr Karin Sekhon