Mental health week | It's a community approach

It's always good to hear from mental health experts, at anytime, but especially during Mental Health Week.

Nursing Unit Manager at Ramsay Mental Health, Megan Matthews, answered some in depth questions to help our readers with the latest practices and to discuss what help is available.

Can you see the difference in the way Mental Health is treated and/or talked about today?

"We have seen a huge change in public opinion of mental health as well as treatment and care of people with mental health problems.

We have taken a holistic approach to include social issues, taken multidisciplinary approaches and empowered people through therapeutic relationship building, peer support and recovery and allowed research to inform and guide our practice on the treatment and prevention of mental health issues.

Mental Health is spoken about more these days and everyone has a role to play in creating a mentally healthy community. We should all be inclusive, learn facts about mental illness and talk about them with family, friends and colleagues.

What are three new approaches you see in your practice?

Holistic, patient centred care, therapeutic interventions and encompassing the whole of a patient's circumstances and a decrease in stigma.

What steps can our readers take to nurture their own mental health?

There is a number of ways to support yourself or your loved ones mental health during these especially hard times with numerous lockdowns occuring:

Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone.

Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing and keep to regular sleep routines and eating healthy foods.

Try to maintain physical activity and to establish routines as best as possible.

For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated work space.

You can always contact the mental health triage line which is open all hours on 1800 104 211. And there is always lifeline, Men's line Australia, Open Arms for Australian veterans and families, Beyond Blue support service or the Black Dog Institute. If in the event of an emergency you can call 000.

Are there any warning signs we need to note?

People tend to have a decrease in their mood, poor sleep, withdraw and isolate themselves from friends and family and tend to not enjoy their hobbies or usual day to day activities.

Are there any key messages you would like to communicate?

While a patient is with us, they receive individually tailored person-centered, multidisciplinary care, designed around the best evidence-based psychiatric and psychological treatments currently available. Patients also have daily access to psychology groups, a clinic gym, and allied health therapy group programs to help maintain and optimise their physical and emotional wellbeing.

Ramsay Mental Health offers inpatient care for a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, substance misuse, eating disorders and addiction, PTSD, trauma, borderline personality disorder, and psychosis. We provide treatment and on-going follow up care for people over the age of 18. We specialise in ECT therapy and are currently introducing TMS into our service. We do not treat acute mental health situations and we are a low risk facility.

Patients require a referral from their treating GP. At Ramsay Mental Health Albury Wodonga we will work alongside you or your loved one to organise an inpatient admission if this is an appropriate level of care required.

Anything else you'd like to add?

It is normal to be feeling overwhelmed or stressed right now in these current conditions but acknowledging these feelings of distress, activating your support network and seeking professional help if required is encouraged. There is a dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. Trained mental health professionals are available to talk to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.