Support World Mental Health Day

Press Release – Royal Australian and NZ College of Psychiatrists

With World Mental Health Day approaching on 10 October 2011, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is encouraging people to look after their mental health.Support World Mental Health Day

With World Mental Health Day approaching on 10 October 2011, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is encouraging people to look after their mental health.

“Mental illness is quite common, however people are less likely to seek help for mental ill health than they are for physical illnesses. There are effective treatments available for mental illness and people should not hesitate to talk to family and friends and to visit their general practitioner about any concerns,” said Dr Maria Tomasic, President of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

“The severity of mental illness can range from mild cases of anxiety and depression to life threatening incidences of severe illness. Whatever the circumstances it is important for people to realise that there is help available and that they are not alone,” said Dr Tomasic.

“Often people do not seek help for mental ill health as they may feel embarrassed or think that their being ill is a sign of personal weakness. Getting help for mental ill health is about taking charge of the situation,” said Dr Tomasic.

“Mental ill health can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Without seeking the right treatment, relationships, productivity at work, and social activities can all be affected. There are effective treatments for mental illness which can alleviate the distressing symptoms of anxiety, depression or psychosis and can significantly improve your life,” said Dr Tomasic.

“Thankfully the stigma that has historically surrounded mental illness has decreased over recent years, and mental health is now far better understood by the general community,” said Dr Tomasic.

“There are some simple lifestyle measures people can undertake to improve their general mental health and wellbeing,” said Dr Tomasic. These include:

• Undertaking regular exercise
• Getting adequate sleep
• Eating a balanced diet
• Keeping in touch with support networks of family and friends
• Getting involved in your community
• Using relaxation techniques
• Minimising alcohol consumption
• Not using illicit drugs

“Mental illness is a serious problem in our community and it is important that the government continue to address mental health needs and improve services. There are critical needs across the board in mental health; from young children, through to adolescents, adults and in old age more services are required. There are particularly disadvantaged groups such as indigenous people with mental health problems; those suffering the dual disability of intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder and mental illness; and people within the criminal justice system. All these have higher rates of mental illness than the general population and a significant lack of appropriate services. Improvements to in-patient services, out-patient services and community care are needed and there is much to be done in chronic illness and rehabilitation services which are significantly lacking. Ongoing research into mental illness and its treatment is also vital. Investment in all aspects of mental health care is required,” said Dr Tomasic.

About The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is the principal organisation representing the medical specialty of psychiatry in Australia and New Zealand and has responsibility for training, examining and awarding the qualification of Fellowship of the College to medical practitioners.

ENDS

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