Letter to the Editor - December 31: Check your mental health

AS THE end of the year approaches, it's common for us to reflect on the year that's been and what lies ahead in 2015.

In many respects 2014 has been a testing year.

The deaths of Robin Williams and Charlotte Dawson, for example, saw an outpouring of community feeling and a never-before-seen willingness to talk openly about depression, anxiety and suicide.

Record numbers of people contacted beyondblue's support service for help or advice. As a community, the penny seems to have dropped that depression doesn't discriminate. More recent events in Sydney, Cairns and overseas may have tested our trust in our fellow human beings, but in many ways have brought us closer together. At times like this it's even more important that we make the time for the people and activities that bring us joy, rekindle friendships, put aside technology and connect with each other. And stand up to intolerance of difference, in whatever form that difference takes.

With one in six Australians experiencing depression and/or anxiety at any time, beyondblue also encourages all Australians to look out for themselves and others this coming year, and not neglect their mental health and wellbeing.

If you have been feeling down or excessively worried for longer than a couple of weeks check out the beyondblue website or contact our support service on 1300 22 46 36 any time of the night or day to speak to a trained mental health professional about what you can do to get your life back on track.

Exercising regularly, eating healthy food, getting enough sleep and not overdoing the alcohol will help.

A new year pledge to yourself to tune in, open up and take one step for your mental health can be made on our website. In six months, we'll email it back to you - as a reminder of your commitment, or a pat on the back for your achievements. I wish you a happy, safe and mentally healthy year ahead.

beyondblue CEO

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