Mental illness in Australia is a serious health issue, with 20% of people ages 16-85 diagnosed with a mental illness each year. The most common disorders include depression, anxiety and substance abuse. These illnesses usually emerge during adolescence, beginning as early as the age of 18; those who fall within this age range also have the highest number of cases of mental illness compared to any other age group. Almost half of Australians (45%) will experience some sort of mental disorder within their lifetime. Of these, 54% do not have access to any kind of treatment, making mental health a major concern in Australia.
About SANE Australia
SANE Australia is a national mental health charity that has a dedication to helping those within Australia feel comfortable to talk about their problems and works toward bettering the lives of those with a mental illness. SANE provides counseling support, and peer support that includes a variety of services, as well as conducting research and providing advocacy. The organization helps those who feel alone by providing them with a free counseling service. Counselors are available via phone, webchat or email Monday through Friday from 10 to 10. All sessions are one-on-one and completely confidential.
People who feel alone are also able to contact a peer support worker to talk about what matters most to them and can join peer-group chats via the web. A peer support worker runs the group chats and these chats allow those with mental health challenges to talk to others anonymously. The forums are available to anonymously post any thoughts and feelings individuals have on any topic they choose. Others can then read these comments, and respond, letting the anonymous individuals know that they are not alone.
Mental Health Foundation Australia
Mental Health Foundation Australia is an organization that works toward improving the lives of those with a mental illness. Its vision is “Better Mental Health For All.” Established in 1930, as Australia’s first mental health organization, it prides itself on its holistic approach in advocating for mental health, and providing aid for those with a mental illness, as well as those who live with them and care for them. MHFA’s values are compassion, excellence, inclusion, innovation and integrity. MHFA’s two service activities are support groups and education.
MHFA offers various support groups to people, depending on the mental illness with which they are dealing. The organization notes that this is the best way for people to cope with their illness, through a stable environment that allows people to exchange new skills, methods and ways to cope with challenges. Group participants include family, friends and caregivers, in addition to those with mental health issues.
MHFA’s education efforts address those with mental health issues, as well as community awareness of mental health. The organization has designed programs to target early intervention and mental health literacy. These include mental health webinars, mental health first aid courses and basic mental health information brochures.
Through these organizations’ continued hard work and dedication, Australians dealing with a mental illness are more likely to receive the care they need, and the number of those with no access to help may decrease.
– Nia Hinson