By RENYUAN OUYANG
Passion, food, sleep, conversation, exercise – these are the everyday things that could hold the key to helping people walk out of the shadow of mental illness.
The foundation’s aim is to equip individuals with the right tools to combat anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies.
Tips for combatting anxiety and depression:• Get into life and do stuff that’s important to you• Learn new ways to handle tough times• Build close and connected relationships• Eat well• Stay active• Get enough sleep• Cut back on alcohol and other drugsSource: National Youth Mental Health Foundation
The foundation’s yearly review in 2017 said one in four young people were living with a mental disorder and one-third of these would lead to suicide.
Foundation ambassador Johnny Ruffo said he suffered from depression after being diagnosed with brain cancer.
“The lowest point for me would be not wanting to be here any more,” the Australian actor and singer said.
“I did 12 months of chemotherapy, and through that time it was really hard. You don’t know if it’s helping. You just don’t know if you are gonna survive.”
The depression held back Mr Ruffo’s life and career as he turned down some performances. Sometimes he just wanted to lock himself up.
What picked him up was his passion for music.
“If you can study any subject for free and you have all the time in the world, what would you do? For me, I would do music,” Mr Ruffo said.
He used his experience in his upcoming song, and has tried different music styles compared with his previous dance-pop songs, to encourage people who may be experiencing similar thoughts.
Finding a passion is one of many tips suggested by the National Youth Mental Health Foundation.
Headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said the tips were a combination of things tried by young people and proven by academic experts to maintain mental health.
“What we do is we get young people to tell their stories and that helps other young people take the message and listen,” he said.
As for helping those who have suicidal thoughts, Mr Trethowan said the foundation was promoting positive conversations with trusted friends, family and work colleagues.
“By helping yourself, you are gonna talk to someone,” he said.
Mr Trethowan said there was no need to feel ashamed of expressing your mental illness, irrespective of your social, economic or cultural status, because mental health did not discriminate.
Attendee Claire Shallue said she had anxiety while in high school.
“You struggle with being worried about what you’re gonna do, and if you’re stuck in negative thoughts you can feel a bit of pressure,” she said.
She said young people needed to be realistic about balancing work and university or school.
“Life is only ever gonna be busier. Sometimes you do have to make sacrifices. But you also have to be aware of how you’re feeling.”