With Mental Health Week kicking off this week (October 5-12), Australia is gearing up for a host of events to help raise awareness of mental health conditions.

Leading up to the official World Mental Health Day on October 10, an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a number of organisations will be hosting their own campaigns to draw awareness of mental health in an effort to remove the associated stigma and help those affected.

The stats

• Almost half the total Australian population will experience a mental disorder at some time in their life (Source: Mental Health Council of Australia)
• One in five (20 per cent) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year (Source: Mindframe)
• Only one third of people (34.9 per cent) with a mental health disorder use health services for their mental health problem (Source: Mental Health Council of Australia)
• Among young Australians aged 12- 25 years, depression is the most common mental health problem. (Source: Mental Health Council of Australia)
• Around one in 10 young Australians will experience an anxiety disorder in any given 12-month period. (Source: Mental Health Council of Australia)
• Mental disorders and suicide account for 14.2 per cent of Australia's total health burden (Source: Time for Service, MHCA 2006)
• Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24 (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012)
• Australians are more likely to die by suicide than skin cancer (Source: Black Dog Institute)

The facts

• Mental illness is not a life sentence, and most people will recover fully, especially if they receive help early.
• Many kinds of treatment are available.
• Though some people experience significant disability as a result of a chronic mental illness, many others live full and productive lives while receiving ongoing treatment and medication.
• Reducing the stigma will encourage more people to seek help early.
• Most people with a mental illness are treated in the community by a GP.

Get involved

• The ABC is running a campaign 'Mental As... ', which will feature programs focused on mental illness, health and wellbeing across the company's media platforms. On Mental Health Day there will be a live broadcast from 7.30pm encouraging Australians to take action, start stalking, and give to mental health research.
• If you're an employer, participate in Mindful Employer - an initiative of SANE Australia, providing online e-learning and face-to-face training on managing mental health-related issues in the workplace. It is said every $1 businesses invest in mental health returns $2.30
• Each state will be hosting their own events to commemorate the week.
• Participate in Zip It , a fundraising initiative asking participants to donate their voice to turn up the volume on mental health discussions. Sponsor someone or get directly involved by staying silent for 24 hours

Mental illness can strike at any time, and most likely affects someone close to you right now. The following services are available year round, and provide free support for thousands of people struggling.

Lifeline

13 11 14 (24 hour hotline)

www.lifeline.org.au

beyondblue

1300 22 4636 (24 hour hotline)

www.beyondblue.org.au

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