Lifeline calls for mental health to be treated as seriously as physical health

Sep 18, 2023 | In the media, News

This Mental Health Awareness Week (September 18-24), Lifeline Aotearoa is calling for people to place as much importance on their mental health as their physical health – and if something’s wrong to attend to it just as quickly.

Lifeline Aotearoa spokesperson Helena de Fontenay says we all know when something’s not quite right with our mental health, but too often, we tend to try to push it into the background, ignore it and carry on with life regardless. The trouble with that is the wheels can fall off and things can snowball to the point that they become overwhelming.

“A much better strategy is when you realise something’s not right, take it seriously, prioritise your mental health, and reach out for support early. You don’t need to be at crisis point before you seek support.

“Reaching out to someone to talk to while the issue feels smaller and is causing a niggling feeling of stress, confusion, upset or worry gives you more space to look at options and ideas as to how you can address it. Connect with someone you trust, and share what’s going on. Give yourself permission that it’s OK not to be OK, and do what you need to do to get support,” says Helena.

Five common red flags that your mental health needs to be top priority and you need to reach out for support are:

  1. realising that you are continually ruminating on the same issue
  2. sleeping too much or too little
  3. finding yourself more impatient or alternatively, more tearful
  4. being persistently worried or overly anxious
  5. withdrawing from people  

“If you haven’t got someone you can call, call us. Lifeline is here to support you 24/7 and help you come up with an action plan to address the issue,” Helena says.

People call Lifeline about all kinds of things, but the most common issues people talk to us about are loneliness and isolation, relationship difficulties, anxiety and depression, clinical mental health issues, and suicide.

With no Government funding, Lifeline is reliant on donations from the public and support from New Zealand business. The more support we receive, the more calls we can answer. To donate to Lifeline, click here.

View Lifeline Aotearoa ambassador Mary Haddock-Staniland talking about the importance of mental health, the need to seek support early, and the five red flags that your mental health needs to be prioritised here.