Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have revealed the alarming figure that up to half of Australians will suffer from a mental disorder at least once in our lifetime, with one in five Australians afflicted within a 12-month period.
To date, scientists do not know what causes the chemicals within the brain to fall out of balance and trigger certain mental illnesses. Unfortunately, until they know the reason, there is simply no cure.
In some cases, people can and do recover from their mental illness. For many people who do recover, they can look forward to a normal life back in the community. However, for those suffering from schizophrenia, for example, can be subjected to periods of hospitalisation for the rest of their lives.
There is still a lot of misunderstanding about mental illness, with sufferers often referred to as ‘mad’, ‘crazy’ or a ‘nut’. Sufferers often face rejection by their community, friends and even family.
Whilst the Queensland Government has taken positive steps toward addressing the stigma attached to mental illness, allocating $8.5m to the issue, there is still much more to be done in terms of understanding the causes.
For more information visit http://www.qldalliance.org.au/
Damien Blackley is a member of the Annerley Branch