One out of every five Australians will experience some form of mental illness each year. Three out of every ten Australians will be seriously affected.
Depression alone is predicted to be one of the world’s largest health problems by 2020.
While mental illness comes in many forms, it is loosely defined as a health condition that changes a person’s thoughts, feelings or behavior (or all three) and causes the person distress and difficulty in day-to-day functioning.
As with many diseases, mental illness can vary from severe to mild cases. Individuals with mental illness do not necessarily look like they are sick, especially if their illness is mild. Other people may show more explicit symptoms such as confusion, agitation or withdrawal.
Research shows that tertiary students are at a greater risk of developing mental illness than the general population.
The aim of Mental Health Week is to encourage people to move towards better mental health by promoting social and emotional wellbeing to the community, encouraging people to maximise their health potential and enhance the coping capabilities of communities, families and individuals.
“Students are less likely to seek help [than the general population] and may not even know what help is available,” says Leonie Baxter, Curtin’s Mental Health Week organiser. “If students are not coping, they may just drop out.
“Curtin’s Mental Health Week activities utilise the experiences of current students and staff, Curtin alumni and local agencies to present information specifically for the student audience,” says Baxter.
During Mental Health Week, Curtin will showcase a wide array of activities promoting wellbeing such as meditation classes, free yoga, self image and social media discussions and a free movie to wrap up the week.
“The best bit of Mental Health Week is hearing people’s personal experiences and success in recovery,” says Baxter, who is a mental health nurse at Curtin. “While a mental illness can be difficult to live with, hearing that people do come out on top is inspiring and encouraging to others.”
Get involved in this year’s Mental Health Week. Check out what’s on offer on Bentley Campus from Monday 6 October to Friday 10 October.
Curtin Lecturer wins prestigious mental health award
Dr Robyn Martin, a lecturer from the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, has been awarded the McCusker Charitable Foundation Award for Excellence as part of the 2014 Mental Health Good Outcomes Awards.
Professor Donna Chung, Curtin’s Head of Social Work, says Dr Martin’s contribution to the mental health field spans more than 20 years. Dr Martin has worked in the mental health sector and in women’s services to address domestic and family violence, homelessness, child protection and substance abuse.
“She is an exceptional advocate who is committed to sharing information about mental health recovery. A leader who walks the walk and talks the talk, Robyn infuses lived experience into teaching and works hard to inspire her students and fellow staff,” says Professor Chung.
The Mental Health Commission presented the award to Dr Martin on World Mental Health Day.