Editorial: Tamworth plays a part in World Mental Health Day

SLOWLY but surely we’re lifting the lid on mental health.

And that starts with trying to remove the stigma associated with it through conversations and awareness. 

That message rang loud and clear across the region on Wednesday, as Tamworth and surrounds played its role in World Mental Health Day.

World Mental Health Day – 10 October – is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

It is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide.

The theme – Do You See What I See? – challenges perceptions about mental illness in Australia and encourages everyone to look at mental health in a more positive light, in an effort to reduce stigma and make way for more people to seek the help and support they deserve.

Stigma around mental illness due to misunderstanding or prejudice remains an issue in Australia, delaying or preventing people from wanting or feeling able to seek help, and impacting adversely on their lives.

One in five Australians are affected by mental illness, yet many don’t seek help because of the stigma.

We can all do something to help shed a more positive light on mental health.

It’s time to look at mental illness in a different light – a positive light. 

Locally, Billabong Clubhouse is doing its bit to spread that message. 

On Tuesday, members inflated giant hot-air-balloons out the front of the clubhouse, while a smorgasbord of local health services were showcased out the back.

The day is the centrepiece of International Mental Health Month.

Billabong House director Tanya Thompson believes that as a community we are on the right track to breaking down the stigma and offering the best possible range of services to those dealing with mental health issues.

While their efforts have helped kick start conversations, responsibility lies with each of us.

It’s important that we learn to recognise signs and symptoms, check in with those around us, and start to look after our own mental health.

By doing that, we’ll help foster the message that it’s okay to not be okay.

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