World Mental Health Day Series Round-Up

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”Mental health is about wellness rather than illness”

Having read the four mental health experiences from local mums, including;

Perhaps some of their thoughts have struck a nerve with you? Maybe you completed the depression and anxiety checklist and it reveals that you potentially experienced depression in the last month? Or perhaps, deep down, you just have this feeling that you don’t feel ‘right’? Whatever the situation, now what? Hopefully you’ll be able to find some answers and helpful advice here.

Who should I talk to?

You might find this the hardest bit once you’ve recognised that something isn’t right. Definitely talk to a close friend, your partner, a relative or give one of the helplines we listed here a call.

If you feel you need to get some more support, then the next step would be to see your GP. This can be daunting and you might not know where to start. You may also feel pressured into explaining your point properly in a short appointment time. Here are three things you could do to help;

      • Ask for an extended appointment, essentially a double appointment time) with your GP – most surgeries offer this;
      • Write down notes of what you want to say – if you get upset or time-pressured you can always give these to the GP to read through; and

Complete the BeyondBlue checklist (https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety-and-depression-checklist-k10) and take it with you.

Medicare rebates

If your GP feels you do need some additional support, under the Better Access Initiative you are able to receive Medicare rebates for up to ten individual and ten group mental health services per year. To receive this your GP will complete a Mental Health Treatment Plan, prescribe any appropriate medicine and/or refer you to the necessary psychologist, psychiatrist or service.

If you aren’t comfortable talking to your GP then you can see a psychiatrist for a diagnosis and a treatment plan. However, you may find you will have to pay a fee for this.

https://www.ranzcp.org/Mental-health-advice/find-a-psychiatrist.aspx

What sort of treatment might I receive?

Everyone’s diagnosis and situation will be different so it’s logical to expect the treatment you will receive to be different too. During the course of your recovery you may need to change your treatment plan as well.

Some of the types of treatment for depression include:

Psychological

  • cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) – a structured treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel.
  • interpersonal therapy – a structure therapy that focuses on problems in personal relationships and the skills needed to deal with these.
  • behaviour therapy – often included in CBT but focuses on activities that are rewarding, pleasant or satisfying rather than challenging beliefs or attitudes.
  • mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) – generally delivered in groups and involves a type of meditation.

Medical

Anti-depressants are the main medical treatment for depression. Which one is right for you will depend upon the severity of your condition, medical history, age, other medications and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

For anxiety there are similarities:

Psychological

  • cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) – AS ABOVE
  • behaviour therapy – AS ABOVE
  • E-therapies – online therapies which often use the same principles of CBT or behaviour therapy.

Medical

Anti-depressants are the main medical treatment for depression. Which one is right for you will depend upon the severity of your condition, medical history, age, other medications and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Benzodiazepines – promote relaxation and reduce tension. Recommended in the short term only.

Other sources of support

In addition to the above treatments, there are others ways you can get help and support – from your family and friends, support groups (including RDMs), relaxation techniques and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including exercising regularly. Here is some more detail on these other sources of support –

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/treatment-options/other-sources-of-support

It’s not a quick fix

Unfortunately, once you start your treatment plan it’s unlikely that you will suddenly feel better. Medicine takes a little while to be fully effective and psychological treatments help you develop changes in your mindset gradually. Don’t knock yourself if you don’t feel an improvement straight away or even after a few weeks. How you respond will depend upon so many factors.

The important thing is that you understand the treatment and its implications. All medicines have side effects, some more significant than others, so you need to be aware of those – don’t be afraid to keep asking questions if you aren’t clear on something. Also, make sure you continuingly review your treatment plan with your GP to make sure it is still the best approach for you.

Be honest

It’s not always easy to be honest with yourself, let alone others, but it is so crucial as part of your recovery. No medical professional will judge you. They are there to help you. They’ve probably heard a lot worse from other people so don’t add that to your worry list! It’s your #TimetoTalk

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