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It’s time to talk about our mental wellbeing

For the past two years I have been privileged to start the year leading the Hunter Health Kick campaigns.The programfocused on the physical side of health and provided community members with information on how to get started where exercise and nutrition are concerned.
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This year I want to start the year by instead talking about mental health. I am not going to purport to be an expert in the field of mental health but I want to be an advocate for the benefits of good mental health and for the importance of prevention and early intervention.

This subject is close to my heart because today is six years since my mum took her own life.

I do not talk about it much but I think about it often, and to be honest the anniversary of her death is just another day, another day where I wonder if there is anything I could have done differently to help prevent the tragedy. And I constantly wonder if there is more we can be doing as a community and society to prevent other families having to go through what mine has.For the past six years I have felt compelled to do something, to say something, to reach out to others who may have gone through a similar situation. But where do you start? The issue seems so vast.So, I want to start a community conversation, prompting us to all think about what we can do to better support people around us who are experiencing varying stresses in their lives and might be feeling as though they have nowhere to turn.I feel as though there are many organisations dedicated to mental illness and to suicide prevention and there is a lot of research being conducted now, which is great, but there is still a long way to go.

Last year the Australian government reviewedmental health programs and services and in November released the ‘Fifth National Mental Health Plan’. When I delved further I found there have now been five different mental health plans devised by the government since the First National Mental Health Plan in 1993.According to Black Dog Institute website,“2500 Australians die by suicide every year and more than 60,000 make an attempt”. The organisation states that suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for people aged 15-44 andthat rates have not dropped in the past decade despite different approaches and recommendations.

I hate the fact we rarely talk about suicide in the media, unless it is a celebrity and then it is headline news.I think there are many things we can collectively do to improve the health of our community and society. Over the next few weeks I want to start conversations about all kinds of stresses we experience in our lives that may over time contribute to poor mental health.There are many causes of stress and maybe if we feel we can talk openly about our issues in our communities without the stigma that has been attached to mental illness for so long, then it may be a start for some.

This is not about giving out advice, but rather starting aconversation to get the community thinking about ways we can do something to change what continues to be an alarming issue.

Renee is a personal trainer and mother of three. [email protected]老域名出售 ACTION: According to the Black Dog Institute website, “2500 Australians die by suicide every year and more than 60,000 make an attempt”.

HELP: There are many organisations dedicated to mental illness and suicide prevention and there is a lot of research, but there is still a long way to go.

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