One in five Australians is affected by a mental health issue. It often takes someone close to them to spot differences in their behaviour and realise that something is wrong. However, with an overwhelming amount of information and advice out there, it is hard to be sure and even harder to work out how best to support your friend or family member.
The mindhealthconnect website is government funded and allows you to complete a simple search, taking you to the most relevant and trusted information and support from some of Australia’s leading health organisations including beyondblue, headspace and the Black Dog Institute.
The team behind the mindhealthconnect.org.au website has identified nine early warning signs that can help you spot if someone close to you might have a mental health issue.
The Nine tell-tale signs are:
- feeling worried or anxious
- feeling depressed or unhappy
- emotional outbursts
- sleep problems
- appetite or weight changes
- being quiet or withdrawn
- substance abuse
- frequent self-criticism
- significant changes in behaviour or thinking
Dr Nick O’Connor, Clinical Director, North Shore Ryde Mental Health Service and spokesperson for Healthdirect Australia, said: “From time to time we all get stressed, emotional, have problems sleeping or a change of appetite and these can be completely appropriate and natural responses to what’s going on in our lives. But if such feelings or behaviours become part of someone’s everyday experience then it can be a sign of a developing mental health issue”.
“Despite being very common, mental health issues are something that many people overlook – attributing the symptoms to other aspects of life such as work pressures, tiredness or money troubles. The changes in your feelings and behaviours are gradual and easy to miss” said Dr O’Connor, “Quite often, your responses become disproportionate or outlive the initial problem.”
Through mindhealthconnect you can access a range of mental health resources including online programs, eTherapy, fact sheets, audio and video, and online communities provided by the site’s trusted content partners.
The website also contains sections on common mental health issues and tips for improving well-being. “It should be the first step for any Australian who wants to help someone close to them with a mental health issue,” said Dr O’Connor.
The mindhealthconnect service is a national initiative operated by Healthdirect Australia, on behalf of the Australian Government. Healthdirect Australia is a publicly funded, COAG (Council of Australian Governments) company responsible for identifying, procuring and contract managing publically funded telephone and online health information and advice services including mindhealthconnect.