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Spotlight on... awareness weeks

Awareness weeks guide

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day
10 October 2023

During the month of October, we’re celebrating World Mental Health Day on October 10 by bringing Australians together to look after their mental health. Mental Health Australia

13 11 14 –
24 hours a day
7 days a week

Lifeline Text
0477 13 11 14 –
6pm to midnight (AEDT)
7 nights a week

Beyond Blue
1300 22 4636


Butterfly Foundation
National Helpline
1800 334 673

Carer Support
1800 242 636 or
1300 554 660

Help Centre
1800 187 263

Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467

Kids Helpline
1800 55 1800

Mensline Australia
1300 789 978

1800 184 527

Open Arms –
Veterans and Families Counselling
1800 011 046

13 92 76
(24 hours/7 days)




Bipolar Disorder


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


Cochrane Library







Parents’ perspectives of an arts engagement program supporting children with anxiety
Arts engagement programs (AEPs) are non-clinical, structured programs led by artists and educators to support mental health and wellbeing. The findings of this study revealed that the program positively and significantly impacted parental perceptions of their child’s anxiety. The findings illustrate depictions of improved mood, confidence, and sense of empowerment in the child, qualities associated with resilience and mental wellbeing. Open-ended activities provided opportunities for connection, creativity, and experimentation—sources of strength for improving mental health. This study adds to the small but growing evidence base supporting the role of arts-based community care in youth mental health and wellbeing. International journal of environmental research and public health 16 September 2023

Satisfied with life? The protective function of life satisfaction in the relationship between perceived stress and negative mental health outcomes
Life satisfaction is a key index of well-being, yet few studies have examined its role as a protective factor in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The current study expands the research in this area through an examination of the role of life satisfaction in the relationship between perceived stress and negative indices of mental health. The findings suggest that life satisfaction could be a protective factor in the context of stressful life events. Cultivating life satisfaction through mindfulness training and the enhancement of gratitude could potentially sustain mental health. International journal of environmental research and public health 18 September 2023

Investigating health behaviours and health beliefs in individuals with Social, Emotional, and Mental Health (SEMH) difficulties
Individuals with SEMH difficulties often perform negative health behaviours, yet little qualitative research aiming to understand why exists. The present study aimed to uncover reasons for poor health behaviours in individuals at an SEMH college. Emotional and behavioural difficulties 12 September 2023

Hobby engagement and mental wellbeing among people aged 65 years and older in 16 countries
Growing aging populations pose a threat to global health because of the social and psychological challenges they experience. To mitigate this, many countries promote hobby engagement to support and improve mental health. Yet, it remains unclear whether there is consistency in benefits across different national settings. In this study the authors harmonized measures of hobby engagement and multiple aspects of mental wellbeing across 16 nations represented in five longitudinal studies (N = 93,263). Nature medicine 11 September 2023

How do different types and characteristics of green space impact mental health? A scoping review

  • Green space matters for mental health but is under constant pressure in an increasingly urbanising world. Often there is little space available in cities for green areas, so it is vital to optimise the design and usage of these available green spaces. To achieve this, experts in planning, design and nature conservation need to know which types and characteristics of green spaces are most beneficial for residents' mental health.
  • A scoping review of studies that compare different green space types and characteristics on mental health was conducted. A total of 215 (experimental, observational and qualitative) papers were included in the scoping review.
  • This review highlights a high level of heterogeneity in study design, geographical locations, mental health outcomes and green space measures. Few of the included studies were specifically designed to enable direct comparisons between green space types and characteristics (e.g. between parks and forests). The included studies have predominantly experimental research designs looking at the effects of short-term exposure to green space on short-term mental health outcomes (e.g. affect and physiological stress). More studies enabled only indirect comparisons, either within the same study or between different studies.

People and nature 7 September 2023

Reproductive hormones and female mental wellbeing
Fluctuating hormone levels during the menstrual cycle and major reproductive cycle stages have been linked to mood changes, mental health conditions, and an increased likelihood of psychotic episodes. This knowledge could potentially be used for the predictive modeling of exacerbations and mood deterioration through the collection and analysis of data from wearables and apps. A literature search for a narrative review has been conducted using selected keywords in Pubmed, Embase and Google Scholar. Women 7 September 2023

The interaction between sleep quality and mental wellbeing in night shift workers: a case study with a qualitative approach
Night shift workers face unique challenges related to unconventional sleep patterns, which can have a significant impact on their mental well-being. In this context, this study aims to explore the impact of sleep quality on the mental well-being of night shift workers through a qualitative approach. Journal of midwifery and nursing 7 September 2023

Green and blue spaces, COVID-19 lockdowns, and mental health: An Australian population-based longitudinal analysis

  • Extended lockdowns led to considerably larger decreases in mental health.
  • More green and blue spaces were associated with better mental health resilience.
  • Differential mental health impacts of lockdown durations reduced with more greenspace.
  • Protective effects of greenspace coverage were more salient for extended lockdowns.

Health & place 26 August 2023

Neighborhood social environment and body mass index: The mediating role of mental wellbeing
Study findings provide further support for building strong social environments to improve population health and suggest that strategies prioritizing mental wellbeing may benefit behavioral interventions aimed at reducing obesity risk and should be a focus of prevention efforts in and of itself. International journal of environmental research and public health 18 August 2023

Factors associated with perceived helpfulness and use of mental health websites by Australian young adults with a family history of mental illness
This study aimed to explore factors associated with the use of mental health websites for young adults aged 18–30 years who reported a family history of mental illness. International journal of psychology 15 September 2023

What consumers, general practitioners and mental health professionals want: the co-design and prototype testing of a transdiagnostic, acceptance and commitment therapy-based online intervention to reduce distress and promote wellbeing among Australian adults
Many Australians experience mental health challenges, but only a third access face-to-face psychological services, due to multiple barriers including long waitlists. This study explores consumers’ and health professionals’ preferences and recommendations for the design of a transdiagnostic, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)-based, online intervention for Australian adults. BMC public health 14 September 2023

Web-based self-compassion training to improve the well-being of youth with chronic medical conditions: Randomized controlled trial
Minimal-contact, web-based self-compassion training can confer mental health benefits on young people with chronic conditions. This group experiences substantial challenges to participation in mental health supports, and program engagement and retention in this trial were suboptimal. Future work should focus on refining the program content, engagement, and delivery to optimize engagement and treatment outcomes for the target group. Journal of medical internet research 4 November 2022

Promoting employee wellbeing and preventing non-clinical mental health problems in the workplace: a preparatory consultation survey
The study identifies a variety of challenges, needs and possibilities related to implementing mental health interventions in Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Employers need to be convinced that investing in mental health in the workplace is worth their time and money. This requires more studies on the (cost-)effectiveness of mental health interventions. Once employers are engaged, their knowledge and competencies about how to implement such interventions should be increased and privacy concerns of employees to participate in them should be addressed. Journal of occupational medicine and toxicology 15 August 2023



Are you okay? Effects of a national peer-support campaign on mental health
Peer-to-peer support is often a critical component of mental health programs, but evidence on the effect of peer-based support programs at scale is limited. Using quasi-experimental methods, we examine whether a prominent peer-based support campaign, “R U OK? Day”, affects short-term mental health outcomes in Australia. Using variation in daily records and differences in the campaign’s intensity over nine years, we find no evidence that “R U OK? Day” reduces suicides and suicidal behaviours in the month after the campaign. However, we find positive effects on mental wellbeing, particularly among middle-aged males, with improved social support the likely mechanism. Our results provide evidence that peer support campaigns may be a practical, low-cost approach to improve population mental wellbeing. Monash University 14 September 2023

Mental health: prevalence and impact
Mental health is a key component of overall health and wellbeing (WHO 2021). The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing conducted in 2021 found that an estimated 1 in 5 (21%) Australians aged 16–85 experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months (ABS 2022a). A mental illness can be defined as ‘a clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with a person’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities’ (COAG Health Council 2017). The term itself covers a range of illnesses including anxiety disorders, affective disorders, psychotic disorders and substance use disorders. AIHW 10 November 2022

National study of mental health and wellbeing
Key statistics

  • Over two in five Australians aged 16-85 years (43.7% or 8.6 million people) had experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life
  • One in five (21.4% or 4.2 million people) had a 12-month mental disorder
  • Anxiety was the most common group of 12-month mental disorders (16.8% or 3.3 million people)
  • Almost two in five people (39.6%) aged 16-24 years had a 12-month mental disorder

ABS 22 July 2022


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