Taking care of your mental health
- Published on Tuesday 26 January, 2016
- 4 min. to read
At any given time about one in five Australians will be experiencing a mental health condition. Just like any health condition, a person’s mental health can impact their ability to function well in everyday life or to work safely.
What is a mental health condition?
According to the Mental Health Foundation of Australia, a mental illness is a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings, or behaviour (or all three) and that causes distress and difficulty in functioning.
Mental illness can be severe in some cases and mild in others. Individuals who have a mental illness don’t necessarily look like they are sick, especially if their illness is mild. Others may show symptoms such as confusion, agitation or withdrawal.
There are many different mental illnesses, the most common being anxiety and depression.
Anxiety affects most people from time to time when faced with certain situations such as starting a new job, taking an exam or speaking in public.
At times, a certain level of anxiety can help people feel alert and focused.
For a person experiencing an anxiety disorder it is a serious condition and cannot be brought under control easily, impacting their ability to cope with daily life.
Depression affects how people feel about themselves and life in general.
They may lose interest in work, hobbies and doing things they normally enjoy. They may lack energy, have difficulty sleeping or sleep more than usual. Some people feel irritable and some find it hard to concentrate.
Depression makes life more difficult to manage from day to day.
Are you living with a mental health condition?
Here are some techniques you can use to stay mentally healthy:
Imagine putting dirty fuel in your car. You wouldn’t get very far before it broke down and stopped working as it should. The same goes for your body.
Unhealthy food (high in sugar and bad fats), alcohol, caffeine or drugs can all make anxiety worse and increase stress levels.
Consider going for a walk, include more daily exercise, enjoy healthy food options and get a good night’s sleep to help you stay mentally fit and focused.
When your own physical and emotional needs are taken care of you are stronger and more resilient to stressful situations.
Ensure you are getting enough sleep at night and not over-committing yourself to social or work engagements – know your limits and stick to them.
Talk to your supervisor, family, friends, partner or your healthcare professional about what is causing you concern and work together to find a solution.
Where to from here?
MEGT’s health and wellbeing portal, eapdirect®, has a range of articles and a library of financial resources and learning programs, podcasts and a series of videos that are also helpful.
Employees can access the website and enter:
Organisational name: MEGT (Australia) Ltd
Organisational token: megtau
Organisational password: usrkey