This year, 5-11 October will mark the observation of Mental Health Week in Australia. With World Mental Health Day taking place on the 10th, the week is a good opportunity to reflect on mental health issues that continue to impact millions of people worldwide.
Mental illness in Australia
According to Australia's Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, one in five Aussies will experience problems with mental illness at some point in their lives. SANE Australia, a charitable organisation dedicated to facilitating a national discussion about mental health issues, notes that the types of mental illnesses experienced by Australians can be diverse and far-reaching.
Depression and anxiety are two common problems that continue to plague the populace: About 6 per cent of Australians suffer from depression at any given time, while anxiety affects roughly 14 per cent of residents.
Less often talked about are psychotic illnesses, which affect a smaller portion of the population but have lasting impacts on those involved. Schizophrenia and personality disorder are two such affiliations.
Furthermore, mental illness doesn't exist in a vacuum. Other issues, such as social isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, family problems and suicide are linked to mental illness.
Mental Health Week plans
This special week-long event is designed to call attention to the stigma that mental illness still holds in modern society. Locations across the country will host art exhibits, speakers, musical performances and seminars that aim to raise awareness about mental health and general well-being.
The Australian Private Hospitals Association plans to partake in the event. According to a recent news release, the organisation plans to encourage dialogue about 'the elephant in the room' – mental illness – through a campaign that includes elephant imagery, stress balls and banners.
The Mental Health Foundation of Australia is one of the groups spearheading the week-long event, and it has partnered with the Victorian Government to raise awareness about the issue.
How to get help
If someone in your family suffers from mental illness, getting help can be crucial to successful treatment and recovery. Each Australian state offers public mental health crisis lines you can call in the event of an emergency.
Many private health insurance plans offer coverage for both inpatient services related to mental health treatment, such as private hospital admission.
If you believe you or a loved one needs treatment for mental illness, it's important to choose a policy that will cover you in the event of a hospital admission. Speak with a private health insurance expert to help determine which health insurance policy is right for you.