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Image is a butterfly. One side of the image is dark, the other is bursting with colour. Concept photo of mental health.

It can be difficult to understand what good mental health is and why it is important.

Good mental health doesn’t just mean you don’t have a mental illness. It is about having a sense of purpose and getting involved with things. It is about the way that you deal with stress and setbacks. Forming close relationships and being in touch with your own thoughts and emotions.

What can cause poor mental health?

Pressures at home, work or school can get in the way and things can seem chaotic or just too hard to deal with. One bad day can turn into two, then a week, then a month. What you used to think was under control now isn’t.

How can I recognise if I’m not coping well?

You may wake up tired and your chest can feel tight. Your head aches, you break into cold sweats. You turn things over and over in your mind. You get tired and angry more and more. You can’t sleep, you can’t concentrate. You might have unusual thoughts and worry too much about what other people think of you.

If symptoms like this continue, you may have a mental health issue. Fortunately, you’re not alone. There are thousands of people diagnosed with mental health issues every year.

Is it normal?

Humans are not perfect. Like our bodies, our minds can develop health problems as well.

Some common types of mental illness include:

• Depression

• Stress and anxiety

• Phobias

• Eating disorders

• Obsessive-compulsive disorder

• Bipolar or personality disorder

• Post-traumatic stress disorder • Schizophrenia

Where can I go for help?

If you don’t feel like you are coping too well, there are a number of people that you can contact. Here are a few of them:

• Kids Help Line - 1800 55 1800 - www.kidshelpline.com.au - A free 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25

• Lifeline - 13 11 14 - www.lifeline.org.au - Provides all Australians access to crisis support and suicide services

• Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467 - www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au - Provides immediate telephone counselling and support in crisis

• Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636 - www.beyondblue.org.au Provides information and support to help everyone in Australia provide their best possible mental health.

Information sourced from Mental Health: The Basics.

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