Mental health is more than mental illness. Mental health is the overall state of well-being in which every individual realises their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work efficiently and successfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.
Mental health and mental-ill health are influenced by one another but are not polar opposites. The absence of mental health does not necessarily mean the presence of mental illness. Similarly, if someone has a mental illness, this does not mean a complete absence of mental health.
Mental illness is fairly common with 20% of Australians aged 16-85 experiencing a mental illness in any year. The most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder. Of the 20% of Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder and 8.5% have two or more disorders. 45% Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
It can be so easy to take mental health for granted; to prioritise other things; to put it off until next week. It can also seem too big and too hard, but it’s not. There are some things everyone can do.
Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
Reach out for help when you need it. Everyone needs support from time to time. Talking to a family member, a friend, your doctor or one of the many services available can make all the difference.
Here is a list of mental health helplines that are available to call: