Why neglect your emotional wellbeing?

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Typically, when we utter the words “mental health” in our social communities, we see an aversion of eyes and are met with silence. Whilst we will freely discuss our relationships, other people, or perhaps our physical health complaints, there remains a silence around a topic that is so widely spread, and will affect the majority of us at some point in our lives.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in five Australians experience a mental health condition in a given year, and almost one in two will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime.

This statistic is sobering and somewhat alarming. I can almost hear your brain ticking “but it won’t happen to me” and “I’m young, it’s not relevant”.

What is more frightening than the staggering rates of mental health in our population, is the amount of people who do not seek help. 54% of people with mental illnesses do not access any treatment, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports. The Department of Health and Ageing says that receiving treatment early provides both immediate and long-term positive outcomes.

Young people are less likely than any other age group to seek professional help, with only 13% of young men (16 to 24 years old) seeking help, and 31% of same aged young women seeking help, stated in the Mental Health of Australians Report.

We do need to ask ourselves, what the hesitance is? What gets in the way? Or should we ask, what doesn’t get in the way? In the largest amount of cases, it is “what people may think”. Research from MediaCom Melbourne shows us that four out of five Australian teenagers think people their age may not seek support for depression or anxiety because they are afraid of what others will think of them.

But if half of us will experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives, and 75% of the time, this will happen during our young adult lives. So who are we hiding from?

It is time to talk about emotional wellbeing. Ask yourself, ask a friend, ask the person who is sitting on their own, “are you okay?”.

What are the signs?

Early warning signs are the first changes that occur when a mental health problem is developing or returning. They often include changes in the way you are thinking, feeling or behaving. Whilst experiencing one or two of these symptoms in isolation may not be significant, experiencing a combination of several symptoms may warrant further investigation. Some of these signs include:

  • Less enthusiasm for you work, hobbies or friends
  • Not caring for your loved ones in the usual way
  • Taking less care of your appearance
  • Forgetfulness
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Missing meals
  • Having especially unusual worries
  • Not being able to relax
  • Difficulties with sleep
  • Becoming less talkative
  • Things looking different
  • Feelings seeming to have changed
  • Feeling tense and irritable
  • Various aches and pains

What can be done?

The good news is, that a lot can be done! From preventative skills development such as management of anxiety or stress, to early intervention and treatment for clinical difficulties. There are a wide range of resources and various evidence-based treatment options which can assist you with your emotional health.

  • Individual therapy with an accredited therapist or psychologist
  • Group therapy
  • Group skills training
  • Online early intervention programs
  • Mobile phone apps which can help you learn and practice key skills

Useful Sites Relating to Clinical Psychology and Mental Health

Australian Psychology Society (APS)

Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA)

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office (MHDAO)

Mental Health Access Line

Lifeline

Kids Helpline

Headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation

Black Dog Institute

Beyond Blue

Macquarie University Centre for Emotional Health

 

Online Therapy Sites

eTherapy is sometimes a great place to start with low-cost or free modules on better understanding your psychological difficulties. You can find more information at:

MindSpot – a national online and telephone assessment and treatment service for adults with anxiety or depression.

The BRAVE Program – offers a free online program for the prevention and treatment of anxiety in Australian children and young people aged 8–17 years, and their parents.

eCentreClinic – has free online treatment courses for people with symptoms of worry, anxiety, stress, depression, low mood and more.

e-couch – a self-help interactive program covering depression, generalised anxiety and worry, social anxiety, relationship breakdown, and loss and grief.

MoodGYM – is designed for ages 15-25, and helps you identify and overcome problem emotions and show how to develop good coping skills for the future.

myCompass – provides a self-help guide to good mental health – it points you in the right direction.

This Way Up – aims to reduce the impact of anxiety and depressive disorders.

ReachOut.com – has reviewed mobile apps and tools to help you look after your health and wellbeing.

Who can I turn to?

Western Sydney University is privileged to have a number of supports in place for students having difficulty with their studies and their emotional health. These include the Student Counselling Services, Disabilities Support, and the Psychology Clinics.

The Western Sydney University Psychology Clinic provides the community with low-cost psychological assessment, treatment and testing. They offer a range of psychological services and interventions for all ages including children (over five years of age), young people, adults and families. The clinic is currently offering free individual therapy for all students enrolled at Western Sydney University.

Western Sydney University Psychology Clinics are committed to providing high quality care, offering specialised clinical assessment and treatment using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is an evidence-based intervention, meaning that it is scientifically tested and proven to be effective. CBT teaches individuals to change unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

If you would like to contact the Clinic, please email us as psychclinic@westernsydney.edu.au or call us on (02) 9852 5288.

You may also wish to visit our website at westernsydney.edu.au/clinic for further information.

 

Mental Health Crisis

If you, or someone you know is feeling suicidal or is having thoughts of self-harm, please call one of the following:

Mental Health Line                                       1800 011 511

Lifeline Australia                                           13 11 14

Suicide Prevention & Crisis Intervention  1300 363 622

If you are at immediate risk of harm, please call 000 for police or ambulance, or attend your nearest emergency department.

 

A sponsored article from Western Sydney University Psychology Clinics.

By Dana Mitrovic
Clinical Psychologist Supervisor & Client Services Coordinator
Western Sydney University Psychology Clinics (Kingswood)

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