One of the greatest challenges we face in our modern society is the issue of mental health within our population. We are witnessing alarming unprecedented levels being recorded here in Australia.
It is has been said that 1 in 5 of the population will suffer the effects during the course of their lifetime.
We are living through an era of change never previously experienced, at such a rapid rate and this has created a number of issues that all generations in one way or another are having to come to terms with.
The changes that have occurred seem to account for much more mentally challenging environments for people, from the businessman/women to the ordinary citizen in the street.
This insidious illness comes to us in various guises, anxiety, stress and its worst form depression, it can either damage or destroy confidence and remove a person’s ability to feel emotionally inspired.
Many experts have concluded that this epidemic is so destructive for anyone caught in its ever-widening web we have to continually look for answers to curb this scourge in our society.
Seeking reasons why this problem has developed into a national crisis can probably be pinpointed to four major factors.
2. Technological Advances
3. Changing Social Norms
There isn’t much doubt that the above in a lot of ways has contributed to our lives in the past two decades, bringing increased wealth for a good proportion of the population, more efficient ways of doing business dispensing with some outdated practices and enabling us to utilise an astounding range of communication channels.
These momentous changes have also brought with them serious implications for our society around the issues relating to the mental health of people.
The prosperity generated has not extended to everyone with a notable gap in circumstances. Changes in employment structures replacing full-time work and replacing it with casual positions. Some industries have completely disappeared due to competition and the introduction of new technologies. Long held social norms/conventions have disappeared much to the chagrin of some of those in our communities.
Of all of the changes that have taken place, there is one area that is, Communications, that has changed how we interact with one another. The adoption of modern technology has led to a serious reduction in face to face conversations coupled with the pace of modern life.
Strong evidence suggests people’s ability to discuss problematic issues affecting their respective lives has taken a significant backward step which could point to the rise in mental health issues.
Professionals are being overwhelmed by the flood of new cases every month with no respite in sight, their efforts are to be truly recognised and commended. It seems to be unrealistic for them to single-handedly meet the increasing needs in this area.
The truth is not everyone will seek professional help or for that matter have the resources to cover the cost of visiting a psychologist or access other valuable appropriate services. We know many people are not being identified as suffering from a range of these illnesses.
So what could be the option to us all to contribute to the wellbeing of the everyday Australian?
It is so mind-numbingly simple: We take some time to TALK to PEOPLE AND REALLY LISTEN, it can possibly have an effect on promoting a healthier mindset. General awareness about changing behaviours of people within our circle of contacts is required.
I am happy to be accused of being too simplistic but my personal experiences tell me, in a lot of cases it works, whether it is in the workplace, coaches skilled in various disciplines, friends, groups or even perfect strangers. The mere fact of listening is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal.
One may be surprised how the other party can regain some confidence and lead to inspiring themselves just because someone reached out and showed a degree of empathy and support.
When there is a predicted continuous surge in poor national mental health it will mean Australians will need to do their part in helping to combat the effects of this blight on our communities.
With our past record of outstanding community engagement, I know this is within us.
We cannot allow ourselves to be seduced by technology to the detriment of other fundamental considerations in how we may act as a nation into the future.
There is nothing wrong with the introduction of new technologies into our lives but the problem arises when we do not preserve the balance between them and human values.