Mental Health Illness Introduction
According to a mental health snapshot released in 2020 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, many studies in the past 15 years have indicated similar results.
46% of people aged between 16 and 85 had experienced a mental health disorder in their lifetime
20% reported they had a mental health issue in the previous 12 months
Anxiety, mood disorders (such as depression) and substance use disorders are the most common mental illnesses experienced by Australian adults.
Anecdotally, as a Paramedic, in the area of Sydney in which I work, approximately 30% of my calls have a mental health component.
At a recent event I attended in Ho Chi Minh City a similar figure of 30% was put forward by one expert speaker and, as experienced in Australia, this figure rose dramatically during the Covid 19 pandemic period.
People experiencing mental health issues in Australia can be referred, by their doctor, to specialists, where the can receive up to 10 one on one counselling sessions with a psychologist for free.
The number of free sessions was doubled to 20 due to the effects of Covid measures.
For many people who are not affected by mental health illness, either personally or witnessing a family member living with it, the illness does not appear much of a problem, partly because it is often hidden by the sufferer, and partly because it is not a visible physical deformity.
Mental health illness is very real and very debilitating.
It is an illness like any other illness that may be able to be managed, or perhaps, cured.
Often the sufferer is unaware that they have it because, to them, this is their “normal”
Often the sufferer will not seek help, if they do realise they have a problem, because they cannot see a solution.
Often the sufferer will not seek help because they fear the stigma of having a mental health illness.
I believe it is vital that people have some understanding about mental health illness so they might recognise it in themselves or, more likely, recognise it in a loved one, and support them, because they do need your support, just as they would if they had a physical injury.