World Mental Health Day 2020
Looking at mental health through a positive lens is a step in the right direction. Leanne Elliott explores the importance of World Mental Health Day.
This year’s World Mental Health Day, on the 10th May, seeks to shine a positive light on mental health and remove the often-negative stigma or perceptions surrounding mental health. With 1 in 5 Australians affected by mental health, altering harmful attitudes and public misconceptions is a vital step towards supporting people living with mental health, and their family and friends.
There have been many strides made in changing attitudes and stigmas associated with mental health, for example with greater public understanding we have seen the subject of mental health being more openly discussed.
Importantly, attitudes towards mental health in workplaces, the media and other organisations have improved, which have all contributed to reducing negative perceptions and fostering more understanding and positive approaches to improving mental health.
While 2020 is a bit different, due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, support services are reminding people that maintaining a healthy diet, sleep routine and doing regular exercise are important steps to looking after yourself. It is also important to keep in touch with friends, family and support networks which can help minimise the negative aspects of being isolated.
However, for many people now working or studying remotely, the once separate worlds of home and work have now blended. Working or studying remotely, while at the same time juggling family, keeping the home environment tidy, and the extra distractions that can come with working at home can leave people feeling anxious, frustrated and discouraged.
Moreover, being isolated can increase people’s sense of feeling lost, alone, without purpose, and with a diminished sense of belonging, which is why making an extra effort to take care of yourself is so important, especially during these testing times.
“The message is simple: “Look after your mental health, Australia.” – Mental Health Australia (MHA)
UON provides a range of mental health services, resources, and assistance to students, however, with a large number of its courses being moved online, UON has found creative new ways to reach out to students.
This year, to mark the 7th University Mental Health Day, Student Central, NUPSA , NUSA, and Yourimbah have joined forces to support UON students by hosting a number of World Mental Health Day events online on the 5th May 2020.
Outside of UON, for readers coping with the effects of mental health, there are a number of organisations which are available to offer support, such as:
Video by Mental Health Australia, 2020.