Mental health

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Mental health and National Health Priority area

Mental health is a problem that significantly affects how a person thinks, behaves and interacts. It's a national health priority area because it's costly to the government and contributes significantly to the overall burden of disease.

Statistics

- One in five Australian surveyed had experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder

- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder.

- mental illnesses are the third leading cause of disability burden in Australia

- only 35% of people with a mental disorder had used a health service during the survey period

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Causes

Mental illness results from complex interactions between the mind, body and environment

- long term and acute stress

- use of alcohol, drugs and other substances

- genetics

- social factors such as isolation, financial problems, family breakdown and violence

Treatment and prevention

- A doctor should be the first place you visit when you become unwell with a mental illness.

- medications are helpful for people more severely affected by mental illness

- exercise regularly

- eat healthy meals

- get enough sleep

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Local support agencies

Health promotion strategies

- The National Mental Health Strategy: This is a program endorsed by federal, state and territory governments that aims to promote mental health and reduce the impact of mental illness in Australia.

- Programs delivered by Beyond Blue such as youthbeyondblue

Youthbeyondblue aims to empower young people, their friends and those who care for them to respond to depression and anxiety. Youthbeyondblue.com provides information on anxiety and depression, where to get help, personal stories and links to services. It also provides information for friends, family and people who work with young people on how they can help someone with anxiety and depression.