– by Sarah Cole
Aussies have been taking impressive steps recently in recognising the importance of mental health issues, and we’ve been using social media and technology to spread the message far and wide. The recent R U OK? campaign was enigmatically designed for hashtag culture, the #ruok tag opening up wide public discussions and encouraging people to check up on their friends through social media. Now, in lieu of Mental Health Week (5-11 October), a new not-for-profit initiative has launched the How Is Australia Feeling? app.
The app aims to chart the emotions of people across Australia in real time throughout the week; the hope is that the data will spark a nation-wide dialogue about how we manage our emotions and how our mental state affects our coping with day-to-day life. Keen to take part? Download the free app and start tracking your highs and lows throughout your day. You can log feelings of happiness, sadness, anxiety, anger, and how the activities you go through affect your mental state.
With our “she’ll be right” culture and a societal reluctance for emotional discussions, Australians have a habit of suffering in silence, evidenced in our ballooning rates of suicide and diagnosed mental illnesses. Our young adults are particularly vulnerable, with millions affected by depression and anxiety, and suicide now the leading cause of young adult death. Utilising our social media culture to educate and encourage young people is a brilliant method to an important goal.
The How Is Australia Feeling? project only runs till this Saturday, so add your experience to this important cause and tell all your mates. And don’t forget to drop them a line and ask them how they’re feeling.