It’s time to address a big “elephant in the room” for Australian culture: the perceived stigma of seeking help for mental health issues.
For many Australians, there’s a deep-seated, unspoken assumption that we’re meant to be tough as nails. A cultural holdover from the British “stiff upper-lip?” An overemphasis on stereotypical notions of masculinity? The archetype of the rugged folks from a sunburned land? Whatever the reason, it’s certainly an idea that Australian people confirm to and reinforce, whether or not they realise it.
Here are a few ways you may see this in motion:
– The seeming awkwardness that emerges when someone brings up their personal problems outside of the home and/or private sphere
– The idea of “Picking yourself up and dusting yourself off” after an accident
– The “She’ll be right” response as a dismissal of problems
Due to the influence of notions like these, it can be confronting for Australians to admit they need help with their issues, let alone seek out this help. To do these things would be to go against the grain and act contrary to people’s internalised expectations.
But we’re here today to tell you that it’s okay to seek help.
Not only is it okay, it’s actually healthier for you and the community in the long run. By getting the intervention you need early on, you can avoid worsening the issue in the future, and hurting yourself or others.
To use another Australianism: Getting help is a form of mateship. Mental health experts are mates you can confide in and rely on. They will treat your issues with seriousness and confidentiality.
So please remember: We can go further, together.