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Byron Shire
May 10, 2021

Time to talk about good mental health

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Mental health is vital for everyone yet of all work-related injuries or illnesses, mental health issues are the most likely to go unreported according to St John Ambulance NSW CEO Sarah Lance. It is also an increasing issue for young people, with recent data released by headspace for Mental Health Month revealing that nearly two thirds of young Australians (62 per cent) say that the mental health of young people is getting worse.

The impact of social media was identified by respondents as one of the leading contributors to mental illness for young people.

‘We know mental health is complex and there are many factors that contribute to a young person’s wellbeing. It’s clear from the research that social media is something young people have strong opinions about and it’s something that appears to be creating more pressure day to day,’ said headspace CEO, Jason Trethowan.

Suicide rate increase

According to yourtown and Kids Helpline ABS data shows that 458 children and young people aged under 25 years died by suicide in Australia last year. Twenty-two of them were children aged 14 years or younger. Amongst adolescents aged between 15 and 19 years, 40 per cent of all deaths were a result of a young person ending their own life.

‘What is particularly concerning is the rapid increase in the suicide rate for young people. Over the past 10 years the overall suicide rate has increased by approximately 13 per cent, but the suicide rate for young people aged 15 to 19 years has increased by more than 70 per cent,’ they say in their recent press release.

‘Ten years ago, children and teenagers had the lowest suicide rate of any age group, but that’s no longer the case.’

Staying healthy

The seven tips for a healthy headspace are: Get into life; Learn skills for tough times; Create connections; Eat well; Stay active; Get enough sleep; and cut back on alcohol and other drugs. For more information on a healthy headspace visit: https://headspace.org.au/tips. If young people want to talk to someone they can call Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or use email or web counselling services: www.kidshelpline.com.au.

St John’s Ambulance NSW says mental health issues including depression, anxiety or stress can be equally as detrimental as physical injuries or illness, especially in the workplace.

All ages affected

‘We know that mental health issues are the most likely to be unreported,’ said Ms Lance CEO of St John’s Ambulance NSW.

Locally the Footprints-2Wellbeing is a program that has been launched to help people 12 and over with mental health. The program has staff based in towns from Port Macquarie to Tweed Heads, including Bangalow, Mullumbimby and Byron Bay.

‘There is a big gap in support and this program provides a mix of one-on-one and group sessions,’ said Stuart Nunan from The Buttery – who are partners in providing the program.

‘There is a lot of stigma associated with mental health but it is becoming more talked about in social media with well known people providing role models. This program assists people with developing life skills and helps link them with the services and support they need.’

Lived experience

Author Kim Hodges will be discussing her lived experience of mental illness that is the subject of her second memoir Girl Over the Edge this Thursday 10 October at Murwillumbah library at 11am, and Byron Bay library at 5.30pm.

‘This memoir captures the denial, stigma and shame I have in my own mind about mental illness; the debilitating physical and mental agony of the illness; engagements with health professionals, and facing my own mortality,’ said Ms Hodges.

As the guest author she hopes to start a discussion in the community on mental health. The event is free and you can make a booking to attend on 6685 8540.

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  1. Two Views:

    1. There is a lot of stigma associated with mental health
    2. We have been trained to say there is.

    We can reject the training.


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