1 in 5 Australians will suffer from mental illness this year.

It’s time to start talking about mental health – the elephant in the room.

Let's talk.

With 1 in 5 Australians experiencing symptoms of mental illness each year, it’s time that mental health stops being the elephant in the room. These Australians are our colleagues, friends and family. It’s time to start talking about mental health.

Nearly 1.2 million Australian adults and 180,000 young people live with depression each year. That’s roughly the population of Adelaide.

One in four people will develop an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, with about 14% of Australians experiencing an anxiety disorder in a year. This equates to more than the entire population of Western Australia.

Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness in the female population. The total social and economic cost of eating disorders in Australia in 2012 was estimated at $69.7 billion.

Men are more than twice as likely as women to have substance abuse disorders and it is common for young people with substance use issues to also have mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

For an issue that impacts so many Australians it’s time that we all start talking about mental health. Mental Health: The Elephant in the Room campaign aims to raise awareness of the prevalence of mental illness and encourage all Australians to speak openly about the issue.

How to start talking about mental health

If you have concerns that someone you know may have a mental health issue, it’s important to talk to them about your concerns. Knowing what to say can be hard and you might worry that you will say something wrong. But showing that you are willing to talk with them and listen to them is very important.

You don’t need to know all of the answers.You just need to start the conversation.

You might say:

“I’ve noticed that you seem a bit down lately. Is there anything I can do to help you?”

Encourage them to get some support by talking with their family or with a doctor or health professional. If you need more tips, beyondblue has great resources for supporting friends and family members.

Remember the important part is offering support but ultimately it is up to the person themselves to decide how they are going to get that support. Be patient with them. But if you are worried about their safety or that they are going to hurt themselves somehow, then you need to let someone know.

Urgent help

If you require urgent help for a mental health issue

  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24/7)
  • Call 000 (Emergency Services)
    if life is in danger
  • Go to your nearest hospital emergency department

Did you know:

Private psychiatric hospitals treat more than 33,000 patients each year.

Some of the most successful private hospital programmes are holistic, focus on the bigger picture and improving patient's lifestyle. Private hospitals are passionate about addressing mental illness and proud to make a vital contribution to the delivery of treatment for mental health disorders.

Learn more about the vital contribution of private hospitals to Australia’s health care system

privatehospitals.org.au

Access to private psychiatric hospital services

It is advisable to have private health insurance. Your private health insurance policy must cover basic in-patient psychiatric services. However it may not fully cover your stay within a private psychiatric hospital. Check your policy to see whether it says psychiatric services are fully covered or covered to a limited extent. The APHA guide to accessing Psychiatric Services can give you more information. Two months is the maximum waiting time to be fully covered for private psychiatric hospital treatment by private health insurance.