Most Australians don't seek support when feeling stressed or sad

ABC News

Only 18 per cent of Australians regularly seek support when stressed or feeling down, according to a new survey.

Research commissioned by Mental Health Australia examined what activities Australians undertook to improve their mental health and wellbeing against 10 key activities. The study examined things such as sleep, exercise, diet, involvement in the community and seeking advice or support.

"Generally, Australians are doing better than expected regarding their participation in activities that assist with improving mental health and wellbeing," Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan said.

The survey found only 40 per cent of adults under 29 years of age made a regular effort to eat healthily, with 17 per cent claiming they hardly ever or never made the effort.

But Mr Quinlan said the most concerning result was the small percentage of people who regularly sought advice or support when they were stressed or down. He said only 18 per cent of people surveyed regularly sought help.

Additionally, 50 per cent of retired respondents and 49 per cent of rural respondents said they hardly ever or never sought out help. But research showed strong positive results for other activities on the checklist.

About 65 per cent of Australians regularly keep consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs as low as possible and 58 per cent regularly made an effort to eat healthily.

The survey showed 51 per cent of people regularly made time to socialise with family or friends, with 47 per cent of those surveyed regularly getting a good night's sleep.

Respondents were asked to rate themselves against how often they felt they did the following:

  • Make an effort to eat healthily
  • Make time to socialise with family or friends
  • Get a good night's sleep
  • Exercise for at least 10 minutes at one time
  • Keep the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs as limited as possible
  • Take the time to carefully plan and prioritise work and personal commitments
  • Listen to music while working or studying
  • Consciously ensure times without electronic devices
  • Participate in a club, society or sporting activity
  • Seek advice or support when feeling down or stressed

"People can make a simple promise to do something to help improve their mental health and wellbeing and then share it, hopefully making it more acceptable to talk about mental health and seek help when they need it."

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