After an injury or traumatic event, we all react differently. Even though our initial reaction can be attributed to a primal response, the way we deal with the event afterwards is largely due to how our brains are wired.
For those of us who have not had to go through a traumatic event, often mental health is dismissed or sidestepped. But for those who have experienced the worst in life, having strength of mind can be a great help in getting through the most trying times.
We've spoken to experts, sufferers and support groups who help answer, why is it important to look after your mental health?
Because individuals may feel overwhelmed at times by situations in their life, leading to feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. It is important for them to remember that other people will have had similar thoughts and these feelings can change for the better.
Kim O'Neill, CEO - On the Line
Because even though I’m a mental health professional I regularly struggle with anxiety. I know it's easier said than done, but in a busy life it's important to prioritise your mental health. For me the key is value…I do the things I value. Over the years I’ve seen firsthand the value of investing into my mental health.
So if you struggle with prioritising your mental health, take the time to make a list of all the value that you get from a positive mental health experience.
Rhett Morris - Bulletproof People
Because nobody else has as vested an interest in it as you. You are a person and you are allowed to and deserve to be happy and healthy and enjoy your life. Sure it's important to be fit and healthy and functional so you can show up for others. But you are also allowed to just show up for yourself, just because.
Ellen Keene - Self Care for Teachers
Because we all fundamentally have the same mind - 'normal' vs 'abnormal' can no longer be applied to mental health. Each day I work with very 'normal' people who are mental health inpatients, these people are as normal as your neighbour, mother or child's teacher. Maybe it's just normal to need help sometimes.
Mike Harris - Healthy Mind Academy
Because after a divorce I spent 6 years being in a very dark place on antidepressants, comfort eating and self loathing. Through rebuilding my mental health and self esteem I was able to get back on track.
Cheryl Duffy- Author, The Divorce Tango
Because when I was diagnosed with end stage Lymphoma and suffered a long, delayed diagnosis, the desperation to get help really impacted my mental health. I denied at first that I had any mental health issues but after a breakdown decided to take medication. Having a strong mental health and good support helped me get through all the worst challenges of my illness.
Jodie Guerrero - Jodie's Journey
Because good mental health gives you the space to be the person you are, rather than who you think you should be, and to live authentically--to be honest, vulnerable, to share your feelings and also to look after yourself with compassionate care. Ultimately, good mental health contributes to you having richer life experiences.
Dan Lewin - Inner Self Revealed
Because despite a diagnosis, having a mental illness doesn't have to prevent you from living a fulfilling life. The reality is that you still have a choice in how you look after yourself. Having a strong mental health helps you look at your situation in a positive way. Your diagnosis is not a sentence.
Dr Yuliya Richard - Blue Horizon Counselling
Because you’ll feel healthier and happier. The research tells us that individuals who look after their mental health in a period of high stress or any sort of change or transition are more able to focus on solutions rather than stay stuck in a “why me” frame of mind.
Esther Schwald - The Mental Health Project
Because the speed of our life means we are left with our head spinning and no time to stop and consider who we are, what we are doing or why we are doing it. Learn to live differently and you’ll be so much better equipped to deal with all the challenges that life gives you.
Bronwen Sciortino- Author, Keep it Super Simple
Because the state that we are in can determine the decisions that we make. If we are not taking responsibility and asking for help with our mental health issues early on - then that can lead to a series of negative choices, which can accumulate to negative outcomes and a build up of more negative emotions to the point of which we cannot handle them anymore.
Melissa Hiemann - Melbourne Centre of Healing
Because mental illness doesn't discriminate. You, your best friend, your family, your teacher, your work colleague, the person that walked past you in the street, you're all human, you've all experienced heartache, loss, pain and suffering. The experiences that make someone susceptible to a mental illness are those we all may have experienced at some time in our life.
Natajsa Wagner- Clinical Psychotherapist
Because when I was 18 years old, I went through the front windscreen in a car accident and was seriously injured as a result. I have never felt the same since this accident. I don’t have the words but something inside me was lost that night, something that I have not ever been able to get back.
What I gained, however, was a determination to make better choices, and to help people who find themselves the victim of a life altering experience similar to mine. Having a strong frame of mind and keeping positive through everything that life throws at you was my way through the tough times. Best wishes to you all.
Greg Smith - Smith's Lawyers
If you or someone you know needs help, there are a number of services and professionals available to help people through these difficult times. Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 provides counselling to thousands of Australians affected by suicide each year. This includes people feeling suicidal, people worried about someone else at risk of suicide, people bereaved by suicide and health professionals supporting people affected by suicide.