Today is World Mental Health Day, a day for global mental health awareness. 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.
Misconceptions and misrepresentations about those experiencing mental illness are damaging to people’s lives. The reality is the vast majority of people affected by mental illness are able to lead independent and contributing lives in the community, with the right treatment and support.
With one in five Australians affected, with half of mental illnesses starting by the age of 14, they form part of our close circles of family, friends and colleagues, and interact with us in our communities every day.
It’s time to look at mental illness in a different light – a positive light.