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Most Australians will experience a mental health problem at some time in their lives.
What is mental illness?
Mental illness (also called mental health disorder) can significantly affect how you feel, think and behave.
Mental illness is a health issue and you can receive support from a range of health professionals, including a GP, psychologist, psychiatrist, neurologist, counsellor through public system services or private providers or community sector organisations.
Types of mental illness
There are different types of mental illnesses. These include:
- bipolar mood disorder
- personality disorders
- eating disorders.
Depression and anxiety
- The most common mental illnesses are anxiety and depression.
- It is perfectly normal to experience tension, anxiety or sadness at points.
- It may become overwhelming to the point where a person has difficulty with daily activities like work or spending time with friends
- Some people might struggle to get out of bed or care for themselves physically, and if anxiety is really severe, some people feel like they can’t leave the house.
- If you’re having difficulty coping or are feeling overwhelmed, help is available. As well as family, friends and colleagues, there are trained professionals who can support you.
- Seeking and accessing help and support is not shameful.
What is psychosis?
- Psychosis is a severe mental illness where you can lose touch with reality.
- An episode of psychosis is often sudden onset (also sometimes called ‘acute’).
- During a psychosis episode, a person’s ability to make sense of thoughts, feelings, and the world around them is seriously affected.
- During a psychotic episode, someone may experience
- Hallucinations – where someone sees, hears, smells or tastes things that are not there.
- Psychotic episodes can be confusing and frightening to the person experiencing the episode, and the people around them
How mental illness is treated
- Most mental illnesses can be effectively treated or managed.
- Recognising the early signs and symptoms of mental illness is important.
- This helps you access medical treatment quickly.
- The earlier treatment starts, the more likely you are to have a positive outcome.
- Some people experience only one episode of mental illness and fully recover.
- For other people, mental illness can recur throughout their lives.
Types treatments for mental illness
Some types of treatments include:
- Cognitive, behavioural and psychological therapies
- Psycho-social support
- Psychiatric disability rehabilitation
- Avoiding risk factors.
Treatment plans should be decided on in partnership between the person and their treating team.
How to support someone with a mental illness
- People with a mental illness need support in the same way support is given to people with a physical illness.
- Ask questions. Listen to their ideas. Most importantly, ask them what you can do to help.
- Some people don't seek help. They may isolate themselves or hide their symptoms.
- Include them in your everyday plans, like exercising or going to a café.
- If they say no, let them know that is OK and invite them again another time.
- Support them to get the care they need and want.
- This may include helping them find information, or going to appointments or just listening to how they feel – depending on what they tell you they need.
What services can I contact?
- Access Mental Health - Helpline – 1800 332 388.
- Lifeline – 13 11 14 for immediate counselling assistance or the Lifeline website to chat online.
- Suicide Call back Service – 1300 659 467 or visit their website.
- Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 at any time for any reason.
- A Tasmanian Lifeline – 1800 98 44 34 between 8 am and 8 pm
- Alcohol and Drug Information Service national hotline – 1800 250 015.
- Alcohol and Drug Services (9 am - 5 pm weekdays) – 1300 139 641.
Helpful websites with resources
- Beyond Blue website
- Blackdog Institute website
- Dementia Australia website (for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease)
- Dementia Support Australia (including Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service)
- Flourish: Mental Health Action in our Hands
- Lifeline Tasmania
- MensLine Australia
- Mental Health Families and Friends Tasmania
- Mental Health Council of Tasmania
- Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania
- Rural Alive and Well
- SANE Australia
- Suicide Call Back Service
- Suicide Prevention Australia
- Working it Out (an LGBTQIA+ Organisation)
Links for young children and their parents
- Raisingchildren.net.au – parenting information
- Youth Beyond Blue
- Bullying. No Way!
- COPMI (Children of Parents with Mental Illness)
- Drug Information (Australian Government Drug Campaign)
- Headspace – national youth mental health service
- Kids Helpline
- The Link Youth Health Service
Other helpful websites for families and carers