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Depression: It’s a Word We Use a Lot, But What Exactly Is It?

By Depression, Mental Health

People with depression experience symptoms that affect their mood, cognitive function and physical health. from www.shutterstock.com, CC BY-ND Depression: it’s a word we use a lot, but what exactly is it? Samuel Clack, Victoria University of Wellington and Tony Ward, Victoria University of Wellington Depression is a serious disorder marked by disturbances in mood, cognition, physiology and social functioning. People can experience deep sadness and feelings of hopelessness, sorrow, emptiness and despair. These core features of depression have expanded to include an inability to experience pleasure, sluggish movements, changes in sleep and eating behaviour, difficulty concentrating and suicidal thoughts. The first diagnostic criteria were introduced in the 1980s. Now we have an expanded set of concepts for describing depression, from mild to severe, major depressive disorder, chronic depression and seasonal affective disorder. Over the past 50 years, our understanding of depression has advanced significantly. But despite the wealth of research, there is no clear consensus on how this mental disorder should be explained. We propose a new route through the thicket. Read more: What causes depression? What we know, don’t know and suspect Classifying mental disorders How we describe and classify mental disorders is a fundamental step towards explaining and…

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1 In 3 Young Adults Is Lonely – And It Affects Their Mental Health

By Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health

One in three 18 to 25 year olds reported feeling lonely three or more times in the past week. Todd Diemer 1 in 3 young adults is lonely – and it affects their mental health Michelle H Lim, Swinburne University of Technology More than one in three young adults aged 18 to 25 reported problematic levels of loneliness, according to a new report from Swinburne University and VicHealth. We surveyed 1,520 Victorians aged 12 to 25, and examined their experience of loneliness. We also asked about their symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Overall, one in four young people (aged 12 to 25) reported feeling lonely for three or more days within the last week. Read more: Loneliness is a health issue, and needs targeted solutions Among 18 to 25 year olds, one in three (35%) reported feeling lonely three or more times a week. We also found that higher levels of loneliness increases a young adult’s risk of developing depression by 12% and social anxiety by 10%. Adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported better outcomes, with one in seven (13%) feeling lonely three or more times a week. Participants in this age group were also less likely to report…

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More Australians Are Diagnose With Depression And Anxiety But It Doesn’t Mean Mental Illness Is Rising

By Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health

More Australians are diagnosed with depression and anxiety but it doesn’t mean mental illness is rising Anthony Jorm, University of Melbourne Image: Women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety as men. Eric Ward Diagnoses of depression and anxiety disorders have risen dramatically over the past eight years. That’s according to new data out today from the Housing Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) Survey, which tracks the lives of 17,500 Australians. The increase spans across all age groups, but is most notably in young people. The percentage of young women (aged 15-34) who had been diagnosed with these conditions increased from 12.8% in 2009, to 20.1% in 2017. In young men, there was a similar increase, from 6.1% to 11.2%. But this doesn’t mean Australians’ mental health is worsening. Read more: Explainer: what is an anxiety disorder? What’s behind the numbers? HILDA surveys collate data on the “reported diagnosis” of depression and anxiety disorders. Many people with these conditions have remained undiagnosed by a health practitioner, so it could simply be a matter of more people seeking professional help and getting diagnosed. To find out whether there is a real increase, we need to survey…

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One In Four Australians Are Lonely, Which Affects Their Physical and Mental Health

By Counselling, Mental Health

One in four Australians are lonely, which affects their physical and mental health Younger Australians struggle more with loneliness than older generations. Toa Heftiba Michelle H Lim, Swinburne University of Technology One in four Australians are lonely, our new report has found, and it’s not just a problem among older Australians – it affects both genders and almost all age groups. The Australian Loneliness Report, released today by my colleagues and I at the Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University, found one in two (50.5%) Australians feel lonely for at least one day in a week, while more than one in four (27.6%) feel lonely for three or more days. Our results come from a survey of 1,678 Australians from across the nation. We used a comprehensive measure of loneliness to assess how it relates to mental health and physical health outcomes. Read more: Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Giles on the growing issue of loneliness We found nearly 55% of the population feel they lack companionship at least sometime. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Australians who are married or in a de facto relationship are the least lonely, compared to those who are single, separated or divorced. While Australians are reasonably connected…

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Review: Avicii True Stories

By Addiction, Anxiety, Counselling, Depression, Habits, Happiness, Mental Health

Review: Avicii True Stories Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll You might wonder what place a review of a documentary about a dance music producer should have in a blog dedicated to mental health and wellness. For those who are unaware of the meteoric rise of Avicii (real name Tim Bergling) and his untimely passing, then this is a documentary that hits hard and raw. Avicii was only 18 years old when he was first discovered and began his career as a music producer and DJ. While performing in public never came easy for him, he performed over 800 shows in a short amount of time before finally retiring from touring at the start of 2017. What ‘Avicii True Stories’ really offers us is an insight into the torture that being on the road can be like for those people who suffer from stress and anxiety, and who really just want it to stop. As time goes on and it becomes more and more apparent that the touring lifestyle was taking too much of a toll on Avicii, we see his management continuing to push harder and harder for him to continue and to do more. Even in the final…

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No Butts – It’s Time To Help People With Mental Health Conditions Quit Smoking

By Habits, Mental Health, Smoking Cessation

No butts – it’s time to help people with mental health conditions quit smoking Ben Harris, Victoria University; Holly Beswick, Deakin University; Jenny Bowman, University of Newcastle, and Kate Bartlem, University of Newcastle Australians with mental health conditions are more than twice as likely to be smokers as the general population. About 22% of people with a mental health condition smoke daily compared to a national rate under 13%. And the more severe your illness, the more likely you are to smoke. For example, about 60-70% of people with psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia smoke. We don’t have clear evidence for why this is the case, but there are several theories. These include that people with mental health conditions may smoke to self-medicate or to cope with social exclusion. People with mental health conditions are also more likely to have lower levels of education and higher levels of unemployment, which are accepted risk factors for smoking. Despite huge gains in getting Australians to quit since the turn of the century (22% of Australians smoked in 2001), people with a mental illness appear to have been left behind. They are a big group to overlook. More than 4 million Australians are…

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OUTthink – An LGBT Podcast Retrospective

By LGBTQI, Mental Health, OUTthink, Shame, Therapy, Uncategorized

OUTthink – An LGBT Podcast Retrospective This episode of OUTthink, we’re going back in time! Since beginning late 2016, I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to meet and chat with some truly inspiring people within the LGBT community and discuss their stories or gain their insights into some of the bigger issues that exist out there within our community. The challenge for me is that, as a podcast that has no intention to benefit financially, bandwidth can be limited and so we’ve reached a point where I have to clean up and create space. With that in mind, and with a desire to keep some of the key lessons and insights from the earlier episodes, we delve back to explore those initial handful of OUTthinks with our guests Daniel Cordner, Lisa Torney and Joe Busuttil. About Daniel Cordner Daniel was our very first guest way back in 2016. In fact, OUTthink went from being an idea to being a reality due to a catch-up and coffee with Danny where I found our conversation came so thick and fast that it prompted me to tell him about this podcast idea that I had and wondered if he would like…

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OUTthink – Craig Mack – How To Ask R U Ok?

By LGBTQI, Mental Health, OUTthink

OUTthink – Craig Mack – How To Ask R U Ok? R U Ok Everyday? While ‘R U Ok? Day’ is in September, it is important to realise that we should make every day a day where you can ask if someone you love and care about is ok. If you can notice that they’re not being their usual self and you suspect that something is wrong, sometimes the simple act of asking someone if they’re ok can make an absolute world of difference. Some people have an absolute knack of being able to just ask the question while others can find exploring a friend’s emotional state to be perhaps a little confronting. In this episode of OUThink, we’re stepping a little outside of our usual LGBT demographic focus to talk about how to have these conversations with anyone. Joining us on this episode is Mental Health advocate, LGBT speaker and ambassador for ‘R U Ok? Day’, Craig Mack. About Craig Mack Watch the latest episode and you’ll understand why it is hard not to absolutely adore Craig and why he is such an amazing speaker. Craig is a public speaker, talking about issues such as LGBT advocacy, mental health,…

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Midsumma Festival Has Begun – OUTthink Update

By Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, LGBTQI

Midsumma Festival Has Begun – OUTthink Update Midsumma Festival Now is the perfect time to be in Melbourne as the annual Midsumma Festival has begun. The Midsumma Carnival last Sunday was an excellent opportunity to get out, enjoy the sun, and to take in the diversity that exists within our local LGBTQIA community. It can often be all too easy to forget that the LGBTQIA community is more than just a handful of gay clubs and the immediate circle that we associate with. It’s event likes Midsumma that help to get us out and about and to reconnect with our community. The importance of connection Research has shown the value and importance of connection to our own mental well being. It reminds us that we belong to ‘a tribe’ and that we can find people who understand and empathise with us, worts and all. Without this connection, we can often find mental health issues arising including stress, depression and anxiety, and even addiction. With that in mind, and despite Melbourne’s notoriously unreliable weather, go on and get out there. Connect with our community. Enjoy the sun and get the Vitamin D. OUTthink Update It still is a little way off…

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Maintaining Mental Health and Surviving Christmas

By Addiction, Anxiety, Counselling, Depression, Habits, Mental Health, Mindful Eating, Mindfulness, Therapy, Weight Management

Maintaining Mental Health and Surviving Christmas As I wrote last year, while Christmas is a time of joy and family for many, it can also be a source of pain, discomfort, and anxiety for others. For those who have lost or have no family, it can be a period of sadness with constant reminders of a ‘family Christmas’ lurking everywhere. For those who suffer from anxiety, it can be an extremely stressful period as they consider if this overload to the senses (or to their wallet) may leave them feeling apprehensive and on edge. Even just as a ritual in itself, Christmas can potentially trigger a lot of uncomfortable feelings for people that they would rather not experience annually. Then you have those people who are trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle. For those who are trying to lose weight or reduce their drinking or stop smoking, Christmas can prove to be a series of obstacles making their end goal just that little bit more challenging. Let’s face it, you would need to be a saint to get through Christmas without at least a handful of moments of self-indulgence. For some people, giving into this temptation may leave them feeling…

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