FIX: Living pressures erode our mental state.
FIX: Living pressures erode our mental state. John Gass /TWE100412despair

MY SAY: Cost of living measured by mental health

WHEN will we start to take mental health seriously in this country?

Day after day we get media alerts from the police for public assistance locating missing persons.

Countless times they are either suffering a medical condition, mental health issues, etc, and their welfare is in jeopardy.

These people have often left care, or simply just dropped off the radar.

But what I keep noticing is that the public still seem unwilling or unable to make the connection that a mental health issue is a medical condition.

It's not Alzheimer's or cancer, but depression is a medical condition and I believe is brought on by circumstances, much like some medical conditions brought on by stress.

Mental health is at least as important as physical health, if not more, so why are we so reluctant to accept depression, anxiety and other 'issues' as medical conditions?

I'm not even going to start on how the distinction is made between acts of terror and acts of an unsound mind, particularly in the mainstream media, but it seems to me the public is happy to pass off some actions as mental illness and move on.

Keeping mental health off the discussion table makes it taboo. Leaving young men in particular with a belief that talking about their struggles will lower their masculinity only exacerbates the problem.

Glazing over and sending the message to people that their best approach is to struggle on in silence until the rubber band snaps is not acceptable.

A large part of the problem is the fact that the everyday pressures of living are only increasing.

It's fine for our politicians to tell us what we should be doing, that we're too entitled, as they soak up hundreds of thousands of our dollars, dine on our purse and earn more than most of us care to dream of while we struggle to pay rent and scrounge enough for a house deposit.

Forget smashed avo, most of us are happy to pay an electricity bill and still have a few coins to jingle in the pocket.

Some of us are light years away from even being able to do that.

This pressure cooker that is lower and middle class does take its toll. I firmly believe the tense high-wire many of us are precariously perched on every day erodes our mental health.

In a similar way that stress, lack of sleep and other factors can induce chronic fatigue, or flare ups of glandular fever, I truly believe constant social and economic pressures can cause mental illness.

If living pressures can't be addressed and eased then significant investment must be made in mental health into the future. Let's recognise it as a medical issue.

If not I expect mental illness will become intergenerational.