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1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental ill-health, but many do not seek help due to stigma. 

October is Mental Health Month, an awareness month that encourages us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, break down the stigma around mental ill-health and increase help-seeking behaviours in our communities. 

Posted by on in Student Wellbeing Articles

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We can all feel down, stressed or lonely at different times in our lives. Depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions can affect anyone. But for many of us, putting our hand up and asking for help can be incredibly difficult. It is therefore important for the whole community to know the signs that someone is struggling and know how to offer support. 

On Thursday 12th of September, individuals, schools, workplaces and communities across Australia got behind R U OK?Day. Whether it was a morning tea, a sausage sizzle, a school assembly or a fundraiser, R U OK?Day sparked discussions about mental health and the importance of having regular, meaningful conversations with the people around us.

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We can all make a difference in the lives of those who might be struggling by having regular, meaningful conversations about life's challenges.

Every year R U OK? run a campaign in the lead up to R U OK?Day, which is held on the second Thursday in September each year. This year R U OK? have launched the ‘Trust the Signs’ campaign, which aims to give everyone in the community skills to notice when someone needs support and the confidence to start a conversation that could change a life.

The message is simple: if you think something’s not quite the same with someone you know - there’s something going on in their life or you notice a change in what they’re doing or saying - trust your gut instinct, and take the time to reach out and start a conversation.

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Adolescence is a period of immense physical and emotional vulnerability. For most of us vulnerability has negative connotations – we see it as a weakness and something we should try to avoid. Vulnerability is defined as being easily hurt, influenced or attacked, so it makes sense that we try to avoid it at all costs!

On the other hand, vulnerability is necessary for meaningful human connection. It is the foundation upon which healthy relationships are built

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We need to have more conversations with young people about mental health.

In the 2017 Mission Australia Youth Survey Report, mental health was rated by young people as the most important issue affecting Australia today [1]. While the majority of young people reported feeling optimistic about the future, they also saw mental health as one of the major barriers to achieving their work and study goals. 

Issues like anxiety, depression and substance misuse can have a devastating effect on individuals and communities, and if not addressed early, can impact on a young person’s ability to work, socialise and function throughout their life. 

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