World Mental Health Day being held on October 10th is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. An initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide, this marks a day to stop and think and look at mental illness in a different light – a positive light.
Mental Health Australia is leading the World Mental Health Day campaign in Australia. As the peak not-for-profit organisation representing the mental health sector in Australia, Mental Health Australia has a focus on ensuring the whole community recognises the part we all play in creating a mentally healthy society.
Stigma around mental illness due to misunderstanding or prejudice remains an issue in Australia, delaying or preventing people from wanting or feeling able to seek help, and impacting adversely on their lives.
YOUNG PEOPLE AND MENTAL HEALTH IN A CHANGING WORLD
Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time of life when many changes occur, for example changing schools, leaving home, and starting university or a new job. For many, these are exciting times. They can also be times of stress and apprehension however. In some cases, if not recognised and managed, these feelings can lead to mental illness.
The expanding use of online technologies, while undoubtedly bringing many benefits, can also bring additional pressures, as connectivity to virtual networks at any time of the day and night grows. Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, with depression being the third leading cause of illness and disability among adolescents, and suicide the third leading cause of death in older adolescents (15–19 years).
Growing recognition of the importance of building mental resilience
What is resilience?
The ability to ‘bounce back’ during or after difficult times and get back to feeling as good as before.
Fortunately, there is a growing recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience, from the earliest ages, in order to cope with the challenges of today’s world.
Much can be done to help build mental resilience from an early age to help prevent mental distress and illness among adolescents and young adults, and to manage and recover from mental illness.
Tips for building and increasing resilience:
Building life skills
Life skills are a key protective factor for suicide and include critical thinking, stress management, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and coping skills. Activities that enhance these skills can help people as they face new challenges, such as economic stress, divorce, physical illness, and aging. Social skills are another important building block for resilience. They include skills for making and keeping friends, sorting out conflict, and working well in teams or groups.
Learning to cope with everyday challenges
Being able to cope with things that don’t go as plan is key. Resilience is about being realistic, thinking rationally, looking on the bright side, finding the positives, expecting things to go well and moving forward, even when things seem bad.
Resilience is more than just coping. When you’re resilient, you’re more prepared to seek new ways to overcome your challenges and achieve your goals. Although this might mean taking some risks, it also creates opportunities for success and greater self-confidence.
Promoting healthy behaviours
Adopting healthy sleep patterns, engaging in regular exercise and enjoying a healthy and balanced diet are all critical factors for developing and maintaining social and emotional habits important for mental well-being.
Avoiding alcohol and substance abuse
Harmful drinking and drug abuse among adolescents is a major concern in many countries. It reduces self-control and increases risky behaviours, such as unsafe sex or dangerous driving. It is a primary cause of injuries (including those due to road traffic accidents), violence (especially by a partner) and premature deaths. It can also lead to health problems in later life and affect life expectancy.
Providence Medical COO, Mark Caldwell is riding to help fight addiction at the ONE80TC challenge coming up which involves riding the 200+km Sydney to the Hunter Cycling Classic during October. Find out more here
Providing and seeking support
Having strong, loving relationships and staying connected is the basis for provision of trusted support. If you show your love and respect, they will be more likely to care for themselves and others. Recognising that support is available and in turn seeking suitable support is essential for helping prevent and effectively manage mental illness.
Promotion of mental health and well-being helps adolescents in building resilience so that they can cope well in difficult situations or adversities. Providence Medical offer a range of medical practices with caring and highly supportive teams who are here to help you and your loved ones.
If you have any concerns, please don’t delay, seek support today.
Multiple convenient locations offering a fresh approach to your health care:
Providence Medical Anna Bay and Shoal Bay
Ph: 02 4981 2600