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The term ‘mental health’ refers to the state of being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy (World Health Organization, 2017). Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, can arise at any age or life stage. It is estimated that 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008), with these conditions impacting on day-to-day functioning, relationships, and our physical health. The status of our mental health and wellbeing can change over time, and we must be able to recognise and respond to signs of mental ill-health or mental health conditions in ourselves and others.

The signs of mental ill-health may include: feeling consistently anxious or worried, feeling down and disengaging with normal activities, dramatic changes in mood, sleep problems, weight or appetite changes, becoming quiet or withdrawn, substance abuse, feeling guilty or worthless, and others (Health Direct Australia). However, these signs can sometimes be difficult to spot, whether in ourselves or in our family, friends and colleagues.

Accessing support for mental health conditions can be vital to their ongoing management. Treatment can be delivered in person, such as with a general practitioner or mental health professional, or increasingly, via online platforms such as mobile apps, and internet-based courses and counselling services.

The focus of Relationships Australia’s July 2018 online survey was to find out whether visitors to our website felt they could spot the signs of poor mental health in themselves and others, what kind of mental health support they preferred, and whether they could generally afford mental health support.

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites