Mental Health Week
Sunday 8 to Saturday 14 October 2017
World Mental Health Day
Tuesday 10 October 2017
Mental health issues are common for people living with MS. In fact, around half of people diagnosed will experience a depressive episode (which is three times higher than for the general population).
On the occasion of National Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day, it’s timely to highlight such a vital issue for the MS community.
Organisations and governments in Australia mark Mental Health Week (Sunday 8th to Saturday 14th October) in different ways with diverse themes, events and tips, so check what’s on in your local area and see how you can take part. For example Mental Health Foundation Australia (Victoria)’s theme is Mental Health in the Workplace and SANE Australia’s focus is on men and mental health.
The new ‘Health of the Nation’ report, released by the Royal Australian College of GPs in September 2017, reports that psychological or mental ill-health is a leading reason (reported by 61% of GPs in Australia) for patient visits. The CEO of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Leanne Wells said, “It is…the issue causing GPs most concern for the future… (ahead of) obesity and diabetes.”
For people living with MS, the condition itself and any associated stress, chronic pain and overwhelming fatigue, can act as a barrier to good mental health.
MS and its broad symptoms (including common ones such as stress), leave many people feeling frustrated. It can also work the other way. For example, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression can affect cognition issues (your ability to think), another common symptom of MS. Furthermore, as many MS symptoms are invisible, people may not notice how you feel which can also impact your good mental health. The MS Australia ‘Depression’ fact sheet may be useful to you or someone you know: https://www.msaustralia.org.au/about-ms/symptoms
Good mental health helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle, physical, occupational therapy or exercise, and your treatment regime.
Some practical tips to help manage mental and physical health include:
- Regular exercise
- Sunshine, warmth, light and fresh air
- Positive thoughts, being nice to yourself and not comparing yourself to others.
World Mental Health Day (each year on 10 October) aims to raise awareness of mental health issues globally and mobilise efforts in support of mental health. The Day gives people working in the space and opportunity to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide:
This year’s theme is Mental health in the workplace:
Mental Health Australia leads the World Mental Health Day campaign in Australia and has some great tips on their website to help people maintain good mental health:
Their ‘Do You See What I See?’ campaign challenges perceptions about mental illness with downloadable tools, opportunities to take part in events and join the conversation online:
The MS Australia website includes useful tips and articles on wellbeing, and our weekly ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ Facebook posts regularly discuss good mental health and how to manage issues:
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, we urge you to call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636. If it’s an emergency call 000.
(image: Mental Health Australia, https://1010.org.au/about/)