Mental health affects individuals, families and friends from all walks of life; it can affect anyone from any demographic. In Australia, 75% of all mental health conditions develop before the age of 25, with 17 to 25 year olds being the most vulnerable to developing a mental health condition (ABS, 2015). In their lifetime, one in seven Australians will experience depression, one in four will experience an anxiety disorder, and one in six currently live with either depression, anxiety, or both (ABS, 2015).
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australians aged between 15 and 44, and alarmingly, men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women (ABS, 2015). These statistics on mental health conditions only increase within minority groups – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, LGBTQIA+, immigrants, the homeless, and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities are all more vulnerable to developing serious mental health conditions. Indigenous Australians alone are two times more likely to commit suicide than non-indigenous Australians (ABS, 2015). The alarming prevalence of these conditions (2.83 million Australians live with a mental health condition) and the low access to treatment (46%) (Black Dog Institute), highlights the importance of open and thought provoking exploration of mental health in Australia through the arts.
Many individuals suffering from mental health conditions can find it difficult to speak out about their struggles because unlike physical conditions, mental health is not visible. As individuals and artists who continue to live with chronic mental health conditions, AlleyKat Collective are passionate about providing knowledge and resources for those who live with mental health and for families and friends who wish to support a loved one through their struggles. Below is a list of resources that may help. There are many other support services available, but hopefully this list will be of some help:
Ph. 1300 224 636
Helpline designed to talk through any questions or concerns you may have, or to simply just listen. Beyond Blue is an Australian independent non-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental disorders.
Ph. 13 11 14
A free 24-hour Telephone Crisis Support service in Australia which provides suicide prevention services, mental health support and emotional assistance, not only via telephone but face-to-face and online.
Headspace delivers support to young people aged from 12 to 25 years to reduce the impact of depression, anxiety, stress, alcohol and drug use, and to improve relationship issues associated with sexuality, sexual health, families, and bullying. Young people and their families can get support at a headspace centre as well as online and telephone support service.
Ph. 1800 551 800
A free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
Lived Experience Helpline
Ph. 1800 013 755
This unique service is operated by trained support staff who have a personal lived experience of recovery and managing challenges with their own mental health. They will draw on this experience of recovery in their support and understanding of the caller’s unique experience.
Note: this service is only available after hours, operating from 5pm to 11.30pm, 365 days a year.
Mental Health Plan
A mental health care plan is a support plan for someone who is going through mental health issues. If your doctor agrees that you need additional support, you and the doctor will can make a plan together. Your doctor will discuss and explore the types of mental health care that can best support you, along with other strategies to maintain your mental wellbeing.
Through a mental health plan, Medicare will cover some or all of the costs for up to six initial sessions with a psychologist or other mental health expert. After the six sessions, your doctor can review your mental health plan and you can acquire an addition four sessions, totalling ten sessions in a calendar year. These sessions are replenished with each calendar year regardless of how many sessions were used.
Student Disability & Access Plans (For University Students)
Universities can provide access plans for students struggling with ongoing mental health conditions. These plans may have different names depending on the university – Disability Access Plan at Flinders University, Student Access Plan at University of South Australia, etc. – but these plans can provide information to staff about the effect mental health can have on a student’s study, exams, and completion of assignments. Staff can then appropriately assist students with study. No information regarding the specifics of a student’s mental health can be disclosed to staff without the student’s consent. These plans can also cover disability and physical conditions.
Centre for Clinical Intervention (CCI) Self Help Resources
This website provides handbooks and modules on many different mental health conditions which individuals can use to help manage and overcome challenges regarding their mental health. These handbooks explore a variety of topics, including but not limited to depression, bipolar, body dysmorphia, anxiety, distress intolerance and self compassion.
Calm & Headspace Apps
(Download from Apple Store & Google Play)
Calm and Headspace are two brilliant apps which provides users with hundreds of songs, sleep stories and guided meditations designed to help users cope with anxiety, stress, sleep, focus, relationships and more. These apps also regularly updates their media libraries, providing users with new music and stories regularly.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). National Health Survey First Results – Australia 2014-15. Canberra: ABS.