This year has been particularly tough for many families and individuals. Canberrans have experienced several crises over the last 10 months and have shown just how tough and resilient they can be. Growth and healing, however, doesn’t always occur in a straight line and many have understandably experienced low mood, difficulty enjoying life, worry and stress along the way.
National Mental Health Month aims to raise awareness of mental health concerns such as these. The initiative also aims to combat the stigma and discrimination that is often associated with discussing and seeking help for mental health concerns.
1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness each year. More than half will not seek help and at least six die from suicide every day. Mental Health Month seeks to promote activities and events that will have a positive impact on mental health with the hope that more of these individuals will seek support when needed.
The theme of this year’s Mental Health Month is ‘Tune In’. Tuning in means being present, listening, and seeking to understand your own personal experiences and the experiences of those around you. It is about curiosity, learning and being open to having difficult conversations.
What are the different ways you tune in to yourself, to others, to your community, and to stigma? Some examples can be found below.
What are the sensations and feelings in your body right now?
Focus on your breath
Do something you enjoy
Ask a friend how they are
Have a coffee or a cuppa with someone
Learn a new skill together
Help out around the house
Attend a Mental Health Month event
Start a wellbeing initiative at work
Help out isolated community members if you can
Challenge negative views on mental health
Consider your own personal biases and misconceptions about mental health
For more information on tuning in and a full list of events happening in your area visit Way Ahead at http://mentalhealthmonth.wayahead.org.au/
Support is available at any time by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyondblue on 1300 224 636, or talk to your loved ones, GP, or psychologist.
 Black Dog Institute (2020). Facts & figures about mental health. Available from: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/1-facts_figures.pdf">https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/1-facts_figures.pdf