Next week is Mental Health Week and Western Australians are being urged to check in on their own and each other’s mental health and wellbeing.
This year’s theme, Strengthening Our Community, is apt as during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have experienced a heightened sense of solidarity among the communities we belong to, whether that is a physical neighbourhood, workplace or virtual group.
However, others among us have experienced social isolation and financial stress, which has brought the social determinants of mental health into sharp focus.
It is important we bring attention to the need to safeguard people’s wellbeing both during and after the pandemic.
As well as encouraging Western Australians to support and look out for one another, this week aims to promote mental health literacy and self-care tips, raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce stigma associated with seeking support.
If you’re trying to improve your own mental health, or support somebody else with mental health issues, Head to Health provides links to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options.
However, your GP is also a great place to start, according to Bridgetown Medical Group GP Dr Sarah Youngson.
Dr Youngson said some people had experienced a mental health condition for the first time as a result of the pandemic, and GPs were well placed to provide care.
“The pandemic has had a real impact on wellbeing, when it comes to feeling isolated or the financial ramifications inducing stress, “ Dr Youngson said.
“We have seen increased rates of anxiety and depression and we are supporting patients through that.
“It’s so important that people go and get help at the first instance of feeling weak, useless or worthless.”
People who are unable to see their GP in person can still access services through telehealth.
“Check in with your local GP,” Dr Youngson said.
Mental Health Week is coordinated by the Western Australian Association for Mental health and will run from 10-17 October. Find out about Mental Health Week events.