This Is Exactly Why We Need Mental Health Week

Mental health week started yesterday the 6th October and as you can imagine the people of the Instagram world who do not believe that mental health is a valid concern in today's society banded together and posed the question "why do we even need mental health awareness?"

Seeing people dismiss mental illness as something that is not important makes me get a little bit.. well heated. As someone who has dealt with mental illness for many years now, I still find it baffling that there are still people in this world who don't believe mental illness is something to be concerned about.

Do you want to know why mental illness is something we all need to be aware of? Why it is something that we do need to advocate for? Why people need to stop pleading ignorance of mental illness?

Because one in five Australians aged between 16 and 85 years experience mental illness. That is 20% of the Australian population who either are or are going to have to deal with demons going on inside themselves. They're going to wonder what is wrong with them, why this is happening to them. They're going to consider themselves to be 'not normal', they're going to struggle. That is why we need mental health week.

Because 54% of people suffering from mental illness do not access any treatment. We view going to the doctor for the common cold as normal but seeing a psychologist for help as embarrassing. We prefer to suffer in silence for fear of what other people will think and say. We let our conditions worsen because society has told us not to talk about what is going on in our heads. That is why we need mental health week.

Because at least six Australians will commit suicide every day. We are losing our family, our friends, our neighbours, our kids, we are losing them to an illness that can be treated. Suicide is the leading cause of deaths for Australians aged 25-44, not car accidents, not natural causes, not cancer, suicide. Mental illness is taking away peoples lives and yet we still don't want to acknowledge it. That is why we need mental health week.

Because men are at greater risk of suicide but least likely to seek help. It is estimated that 72% of men do not seek help for mental illness. Why have we told men that is "weak" to seek help? Why do we make them feel as if they need to portray an image of strength and that it doesn't include seeking the help they need. Why have we left men to think its easier to commit suicide than to seek the help they need? That is why we need mental health week.

Because over 2 million Aussies are affected by anxiety each year. That is two million people who feel suffocated, who feel the weight on their chest constantly, who feel impending doom. 2 million of us are suffering anxiety and how many of us are talking about it? Normalising it? That is why we need mental health week.

Because approximately 1 million Australian adults have depression in any one year. 1 million people walking around with an internal battle going on. 1 million people, most of who are trying to hide their mental illness, or not receiving the help they need because of the stigma around depression. That is why we need mental health week.

Because depression is predicted to be one of the worlds largest health issues by 2020. 2020 is three months away. This is right now. This is why we need mental health week.

Stop shying away from talking about mental illness. Let people know you are open to the discussion. Seek the help you need. Encourage people to seek the help they need. Start the discussion. Be the change. #mentalhealthstartshere

Find out more about Mental Health Week WA at the link here: