A month of care: Mental Health Month & National Carers Week - Forward Ability Support

A month of care: Mental Health Month & National Carers Week

October is Mental Health Month in Australia. Here at ParaQuad we support mental health and wellbeing for all people in society. As part of this month’s newsletter, we will be touching on the different events and forums held nationwide – and many held virtually – by the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA).

Mental Health Month

Mental Health Month is an initiative advocating for the awareness of the mental health and wellbeing of Australians, led by the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA). This year’s campaign theme was ‘Mental Health: Post Pandemic Recovery, Challenges and Resilience’.

The campaign looked at ways individuals can deal with the challenges brought forward by the pandemic within the last year. This year it extends into inclusive events for a diverse range of communities and age groups such as multiple virtual symposiums and wellness workshops.

Here are a few statistics on mental health in Australia:
  • 1 in 5 Australians (21%) have taken time off work because they felt stressed, anxious or mentally unhealthy in the past 12 months.
  • 1 in 7 Australians will experience depression and a quarter of all Australians experiencing an anxiety condition in their lifetime.
  • Since March 2020, 86% of Australians took steps to manage their physical health and 67% took steps to manage their mental health.

Carers Week

October is also National Carers Week. This runs from the 10th to the 16th of October and is a time to recognise and celebrate carers who provide support and care to loved ones each day. Carers are a huge part of what we do at ParaQuad, and we love to celebrate the diversity of carers and their caring roles.

Carers Week is an opportunity to raise awareness for the 2.65 million carers across Australia who sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve. There are diverse forms of care: from aged care to disability care and even caring for those who struggle with drug and alcohol related issues. Anyone can be a carer but it’s not an easy task. That is why this week provides the opportunity to recognise those who do it best.

According to Carers NSW Australia:
  • Over one-third of carers provide more than 40 hours of unpaid care each week.
  • 1 in 10 carers is under the age of 25.
  • Carers make up nearly 11% of the entire population, with over 800,000 working carers in NSW.
  • 1 in 3 carers is a primary carer, meaning they are the main person providing care to an individual.

There are countless rewards of being a carer; such as providing ongoing support in a person’s life, building strong relationships with individuals and being a part of a community that ultimately cares for others.

However, even though there are countless positives, caring comes with its own set of challenges. Caring can take up a lot of time, energy and resources. It is a role that often doesn’t come with scheduled work hours. You are there when you are needed and this can be exhausting and taxing on your physical and mental health.

As part of the 2020 National Carer Survey, nearly half of the respondents reported feeling high or very high levels of psychological distress. Highlighting the direct impact their role can have on their mental health and wellbeing. By spending so much time caring for another person, carers don’t often have the time to prioritise their own health, with 2 in 3 carers having a chronic health condition, in comparison to 1 in 3 Australians.

This is why it is important to recognise these everyday challenges and provide direct support and resources for carers in our society.

As part of Mental Health Month in Australia and coinciding with National Carers Week, MHFA held the Carers Mental Health Forum on October 15. The forum was a great way to bring together the community of carers and facilitate conversations about the importance of looking after your mental health as a carer. It focused on the resilience of the amazing carers and celebrated everything they do in our communities.

If you know a carer in your life, make sure you do something special for them this month to show your appreciation for everything they do. And, if you or someone you know are looking to make a significant difference in someone’s life, reach out to us at ParaQuad via heading to our careers page.

If you or someone you know are struggling with your mental health, please reach out and ask for help. You can call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636