Struggling? Here are ten ways to help your mental health
This Mental Health Week, 7 - 13 October, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) is encouraging Australians to think about steps they can take to look after their mental health and wellbeing.
Currently one in five Australians experience mental ill health every year.
The APS says psychological research has revealed a range of approaches that can help people stay mentally healthy to make the most of life.
APS President Ros Knight says treating yourself as your own best friend is the best thing you can do for your mental health.
"We tend to be our harshest critic. Think what you would do for a friend who was feeling down, and treat yourself with the same kindness and support," she says.
In particular, Ms Knight urges people who spend a lot of time caring for others to make time to care for their own mental health. Carers report poorer wellbeing and increased levels of depression and stress than other Australians.
Psychological tips to help you stay mentally healthy
Be kind to yourself: Treat yourself with the same kindness, concern and support you'd show a good friend facing struggles. Self-compassion fosters resilience in the face of adversity.
Connect with others: Deep, meaningful relationships help mental health. Really listen to others, be genuine, share your thoughts and feelings and celebrate everyday positive experiences with friends.
Accept your feelings: Avoiding difficult emotions, keeping feelings to yourself, or stewing over problems reduces wellbeing. Be open to experiences and accept all your feelings and thoughts, including the difficult ones.
Keep your perspective: Look for constructive solutions, think flexibly and see situations from different perspectives when you are confronted by everyday problems.
Live up to your values: Live a life consistent with your values. Be aware of your own values - of how you would like to lead your life, behave towards others, and treat yourself.
Improve your work-life balance: Think about the different areas of your life: relationships, work, health, exercise, self-development and spiritual life. Making more time for some and putting boundaries around others will help you create greater balance and foster wellbeing.
Laugh often: Laughter has been found to release 'feel good' hormones, increase optimism, improve your mood over time, and improve relationships by increasing connection and intimacy.
Look after your body: A good lifestyle supports mental health. Eat a well-balanced nutritious diet, exercise regularly, get out into nature, and avoid excessive use of alcohol and drugs.
Get enough sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Minimise disruptors to sleep including caffeinated drinks, alcohol, changes to daily routines, stress, worries and electronic devices before bed.
Seek help when needed: Psychologists offer a range of effective treatments for people experiencing mental health difficulties, which are backed by evidence.
See your GP or look for a psychologist experienced in addressing your issues by visiting Find A Psychologist at www.psychology.org.au
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can call 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 22 55) and talk to a health care professional about available mental health support services and care.
Those in need of immediate support can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.