Mental Health Week 2012 kicks off today and in the lead up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2012, Australian Women Online will be doing our bit to raise public awareness of mental health issues.
This year the theme for World Mental Health Day is “Depression: A Global Crisis”.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive treatment.
Depression is characterised by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness and poor concentration¹.
Depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide. When mild, people can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking therapy treatments.
Depression is a disorder that can be reliably diagnosed and treated by non-specialists such as your local General Practitioner, as part of primary health care.
Specialist care by a Psychiatrist and/or Clinical Psychologist, is needed for a small proportion of individuals with complicated depression or those who do not respond to first-line treatments.
World Mental Health Day was established in 1992 thanks to the work of Richard “Dick” Hunter (1914-2004), the Deputy Secretary General of the World Federation for Mental Health. 20 years on World Mental Health Day has expanded in some countries into a Mental Health Week or Mental Health Month².
In Australia, Mental Health Week raises community awareness about mental health issues and is held every October to coincide with World Mental Health Day. In 2012 Mental Health Week will be held from Sunday 7 to Sunday 14 October 2012³.
Non-profit organisations, health services and government agencies around Australia will be holding events for Mental Health Week in each state and territory. A list of events can be found on the website mentalhealthweek.com.au/ however, this is not a complete list and readers are advised to contact mental health services in their local area for more information.
1. “Depression”, World Health Organization (WHO)
http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/en/index.html accessed on 7 October 2012.
2. “Depression: a global health concern” WHO Paper written for the World Federation of Mental Health
http://www.who.int/mental_health/management/depression/wfmh_paper_depression_wmhd_2012.pdf accessed on 7 October 2012.
3. “Mental Health Week”, Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission
http://www.mentalhealth.wa.gov.au/events/mentalhealthweek.aspx accessed on 7 October 2012.