Taking notice of mental health

By Kiri Gillespie

Today marks World Mental Health Day and a free gig is being put on in Tauranga to help raise awareness.

Breakthru 2012 will be held at Edgewater Fan, The Strand, from 11am to 2pm today.

This year's focus "take notice" is aimed at encouraging all New Zealanders to remembering the simple things that give them joy.

Jacqui Jones, Mental Health and Addiction Services educator at the Bay of Plenty District Health Board said taking notice involved being aware of the world around you and what you are feeling.

"Taking notice can be as simple as pausing to take a deep breath, and taking notice of the world around you. Sometimes we are so busy that we forget to be more aware of life as it is happening."

Nearly half the New Zealand population will experience a mental health problem over their lifetime.

Highlights of Mental Health Awareness Week includes an expo being held tomorrow at Tauranga Hospital. There will be over 20 exhibitors, mini-workshops and lunch time activities, including a giant game of Snakes and Ladders that people with experience of mental illness have developed to highlight the positive (ladders) and negative (snakes) factors that contribute to, or hinder, recovery.

One in six people experienced serious depression and one in seven young people will experience depression before age 24.

AUT's Professor of psychology and public health Max Abbott said WMHD was adopted internationally by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) as a means of promoting mental health. Professor Abbott was the President of the federation when WMHD was first established in 1992.

"Globally, depression affects around 350 million people. The World Health Organisation estimate depression will be the second highest cause of ill health and premature death globally by 2020," he said.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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