By Ciara Bastow
– A LikeMind Centre has been created to help those suffering mental illness
– Psychologist Nicole Manktelow believes young people are most at risk
– Over 278,000 young people were diagnosed with anxiety disorder in 2016
Over eleven per cent of adults experience high psychological distress within the Central West.
Compared to the NSW average, Bathurst locals who are accessing mental health facilities through the Medicare’s Better Access imitative is significantly lower.
This may be because there aren’t as many services in the Central West for people struggling with mental illnesses such as anxiety, bipolar and depression.
It was only last year when the first ever LikeMind Centre was announced. This was the first of its kind in rural and regional NSW.
Set up as a drop-in centre for mental health, drug and alcohol support, the facility wants to keep people out of hospital if necessary.
LikeMind was funded by the state government and is run as a partnership between Orange Health Service, as part of the Western NSW Local Health District, and Aftercare, the longest-serving mental health organisation in Australia.
Psychologist for Bathurst and Orange Headspace, Nicole Manktelow believes that young people are the most at risk with mental illness but that doesn’t mean society should overlook other generations.
“We know with young people, they are often at higher risk of emerging mental health problems and unfortunately they are often over represented in the number of people that commit suicide, so we know that they need to be specifically targeted and helped,” said Ms. Manktelow.
The stigma of mental illness in country towns is another reason why many are not seeking the help they need. Youth counsellor, Kim Moore, believes that the negativity is impacting young peoples thoughts on seeking help for mental illness.
“Facilities are very important, as they help the clients to achieve wellness and support and are shown how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Plus just talking to someone that understands and who is willing to listen can make a positive impact on someone who is struggling.”
In 2016 over two hundred and seventy eight thousand young adults between the ages of 14-17 were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in NSW, the highest number in five years.
While awareness of mental illnesses is ongoing, the Central West is making sure it helps out too. Bathurst’s Anytime Fitness has teamed up with Suicide Prevention Australia to raise funds and awareness for this very real problem.