In the face of fad diets, weight-loss success stories and exercise sensations like Crossfit and Barre, it's time to realise the importance of taking care of our minds, as well as our bodies. Did you know that in just one year, 1 million Australians will suffer from depression, and 2 million from anxiety? (
) You've probably seen mental health facts splashed over the internet, and the ABC's Mental As campaign coming up, but let's reiterate here: approximately 1 in 5 people suffer from a mental illness in Australia every year (
), with instances worse for women. Mental illness is the third biggest health problem in Australia, following cancer and heart disease, and 1 in 7 take their lives every day. (
These are staggering statistics, sure, but maybe it'd help to think about it in "real terms". Think about your group of closest girlfriends; maybe they've been a huge part of your life since school, or Uni, or they make up your mother's group and you've never lost touch. Imagine their faces, laughing as you catch up over coffee or cocktails. In each small group of girlfriends, at least one of them will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime; maybe they already do.
Awareness campaigns like
R U OK?
day last month have opened the conversation about mental health issues and no doubt given a lot of people an excuse, of sorts, to reach out to their loved ones. But we need to look further, at preventative methods for keeping the symptoms of depression and anxiety at bay, and how we can make a difference in our everyday lives, and the lives of others around us.
So, with Mental Health Week upon us, we've put together a list of 5 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health.
1. Spend time with your support network
This week's National Mental Health Week acts as a massive reminder of the importance of spending quality time with our nearest and dearest. It's proven that time spent relaxing with friends dramatically reduces stress and anxiety, which can then lead on to depression and other mental health issues. Modern society puts us under so much pressure with work and general demands of life, so it's vitally important that we allow our minds to switch off, relax and laugh with our loved ones.