Hey Sunshine Coast, we need to have 'the talk'

LITTLE is known about the long-term impact of living with mental illness, and yet our population is rapidly ageing.

Today 13% of Australia's population is over the age of 65.

By 2051, 26% of the population will be over 65.

While great advances have been made in talking about and treating mental illness, we believe there is need for a more targeted approach in terms of our older generations.

This is why we are today launching our Let's Talk campaign.

We hope to:

Increase awareness about risk factors and signs of mental illness.

Reduce the stigma older people associate with asking for help.

Investigate the need for more services, support or financial aid.

 

Are we getting better at talking about mental health?

This poll ended on 11 April 2015.

Current Results

Yes, mental health is becoming less taboo

16%

No. People still keep these issues to themselves.

61%

I only hear more about it in the media.

22%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

 

Reports say between 10 and 15% of older people experience depression and about 10% experience anxiety.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says across the nation, the highest age-specific suicide rate for males in 2012 was observed in the 85 plus age group.

The highest age-specific suicide rate for females in 2012 was observed in the 80 to 84 age group, closely followed by the 50 to 54 age group.

Many mental health programs are focused on adolescents.

Peer support and sharing information through experience can play a large role in reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Federal Member for Fisher Mal Brough and former Maroochy mayor Joe Natoli will support the Daily's campaign.

The content for this series of articles is being driven by University of Sunshine Coast journalism students - Vanessa Caton, Luke Simmonds and Ali Bergeron.

Each year the Daily embarks on a campaign with a group of students from the university to both allow them hands on experience of a newsroom and to give them the opportunity to try to improve and contribute to the community by tackling the big issues.

"We know that some people still feel uncomfortable talking about mental health," Daily news director and campaign coordinator Bianca Clare said.

"But it's so important to break down those barriers and tell people it's not taboo.

"We've seen a real shift in attitude in younger generations but we worry that message hasn't reached our older generations.

"We're grateful to people who have opened up to us and we understand it takes courage but the more people willing to talk the more we can help raise awareness and encourage people to ask for help when they need it."

RELATED LINKS

Election loss left ex-mayor struggling with depression

Our seniors losing the battle with depression, anxiety

If you have a story to share, please email bianca.clare@scnews.com.au

Need help? Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.