There are many negative perceptions around mental illness. Some people think depression is just a ‘myth’. These sorts of opinions can have a huge impact on those going through serious mental illness.
Suicide remains the leading cause of death for children aged between five and 17 years. One in every five Australians are affected by mental illness every year, 1 in 7 are aged 4-17, yet many don’t seek help. (Mental Health Australlia).
Why is that? And what can we do to support our Children and Youth in seeking help?
Mental Health can have a negative stigma when viewing a person suffering from mental illness. They are treated differently and can be viewed as “Dangerous” or “Crazy”. Having these stigmas can lead to discrimination, bullying, and in some cases it can lead to them becoming a target for violence or abuse.
However, if a person suffering from mental illness is feeling that negative stigma it can also mean they are less likely to seek treatment when needed.
What can we do about it?
1. Educate yourself about mental illness
This will help you understand how mental illness impacts a person’s life and how we can support those around us.
2. Use facts
Media can be a powerful tool to reinforcing negative stigma, so be sure to know the difference between fact and myths when it comes to mental illness
3. Help reduce stigma
Advocate for those who are suffering from mental illness, encourage those around you to seek the facts and know that people with mental illness have the same rights as everyone else.
4. Encourage to seek support
If you know of someone suffering from mental illness, encourage them to seek help. Let them know that it is okay to look after your mental wellbeing, and that stigma should not stop them from seeking treatment.
It is important for us to be able to contribute to how we can increase the awareness of mental illness and how it is viewed in our communities and schools.
If we can have a positive view of mental illness, we can help reduce the negative stigma and encourage those around us to seek the help they need.
Our children and young people need to know that it is okay to look after your mental health and ask for help.
About the author…
Jane has been involved with SU Camps and Community Outreaches for 15 years. She has experience working as a chaplain and has a background in nursing. Jane currently works as the Camp Specialist for SU QLD, overseeing the camps and missions across Queensland.