The mentally ill are everyday folk

THE month of October is a big one for mental health organisations both locally and around the world.

World Mental Health Day, which is supported by the United Nations (UN), is held annually on October 10 to raise public awareness about mental health issues worldwide.

World Mental Health day heralds the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and several local organisations held events to raise awareness of mental health issues within our community.

Steve Anderson, CQ regional manager of Community Solutions, said talking about "the mentally ill" was misleading.

"They're us. They're everyday people - they have jobs, they're your workmates," he said.

"Saying mental illness is like saying physical illness - there are so many levels."

"Often people develop a mental illness because they find it difficult to cope with life events such as becoming unemployed, not feeling accepted because of their creed and culture, or not feeling valued," he said.

With statistics showing more than half of all Australians will experience depression at some point in their lives, Mental Health Day is about increasing awareness.

As part of Mental Health Week, Community Solutions in Gladstone held a barbecue in the Apex Park, with at least 50 people enjoying the beautiful weather and great company.

Community Solutions' Personal Helpers and Mentors program (PHaMS) is a free, non-clinical mental health program operating from our office at 32 Tank St.

If you are 16 years or over, you may be eligible to participate. You do not need a medical diagnosis of a mental illness, as your Personal Helper and Mentor will help you to get the health support that you need. To join the program, pop in to see the PHaMs team , phone 4977 8100, or email thirza.scarr

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