As Mental Health awareness increases with such events like R U OK Day this week, it’s more important now than ever to identify the effects of mental health issues on everyone, but in particular young people.
Colin Petit, Commissioner for Children and Young People said early intervention is essential.
“It doesn’t matter what the issue is, early intervention is the key to make a better life further on, so in terms of mental health if we don’t get it right early the mental health issues just expand,” he said.
While it’s hard to identify whether mental health issues are increasing, Mr Petit believes there aren’t enough services to meet the demand.
He said funding is always improving, with good investments into services.
“What we would like to see is a broader role in terms of where the government can fix early intervention measures,”
“We’ve got a report out asking the government to make sure they invest heavily in the early years of a young persons life, particularly those who demonstrate or have signs of mental health issues,” Mr Petit stated.
While increased awareness about mental health issues online gives a licence for people to share their problems with people they trust, it’s important to talk face to face.
He explained social media is great tool for those who can use it well, but it can also be problematic with those who use it for mischief.
“So we’ve got an imbalance… but it is an opportunity to share some problems and needs to be done respectfully,”
“One of the problems with mental health is that you actually need to talk face to face with someone, someone you trust, someone who’s going to give you good advice and you can’t always do that online, so you need to find a way of making that balance,” Mr Petit said.
In regards to R U OK Day, I asked if we should be limiting that licence to talk to just one day, or should we be encouraging that type of supportive behaviour everyday?
“Well with busy lives, one day is better than none, but we should remember that this one day should be remembered everyday,” he said.