Stronger communities

Mel Haywood enjoys a stress-free moment with a litter of eight-week-old puppies as part of Rural Health Tasmania’s World Mental Health Day event. Picture: Ashleigh Force. 

Support. Rural Health Tasmania recognised World Mental Health Day on Tuesday with a bundle of puppies to melt the stress away. 

Throughout Mental Health Week, from October 8 to 14, Rural Health is advocating the message ‘Stronger Together’ and working towards reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Coinciding with Mental Health Week, beyondblue released new research which shows most Australians are unable to identify the most common mental health issue in the country. 

A survey has revealed two in three people believe depression to be the main contributing factor whereas anxiety conditions are actually the most prevalent.

“In any given year, more than two million Australians will experience anxiety, double the number who experience depression,” says beyondblue chief executive officer Georgie Harman.

“One in four Australians will experience an anxiety condition at some stage in their life.

“We all feel anxious sometimes, but when those feelings are long lasting, overwhelming and unusually focused on the worst case scenario, these can be signs of an anxiety condition.”

Signs of anxiety can also include excessive worrying, a racing mind or heart unable to be calmed, feeling tense, shallow or rapid breathing, sleep issues and avoiding situations which make you anxious. 

Rural Health mental health worker Ivon Reuvers says starting conversations is the first step. 

“Having these discussions and talking about your mental health, we’re all busy and a healthy amount of pressure is okay but when you can’t switch off, that is when that pressure can lead to chronic conditions,” she says. 

“Taking a holistic approach to your health and recognising your mental and physical health go hand in hand.” 

A community engagement event was held in the Smithton CBD on World Mental Health Day where a litter of puppies were unleashed on community members in an effort to reduce stress and anxiety. 

The event, held in Emmett Street, also featured the PIT Stop Mental Health Crew, relaxing hand massages, blood pressure checks, mindful colouring, nourishing smoothies and information on available support services. 

The Stress Busters also roamed the streets to chat to business owners and shoppers and provide tips and tricks for effective stress management.

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health condition contact the beyondblue support service anytime on 1300 224 636 or at for online chat between 3pm and 12am. 

The friendly Rural Health team can be contacted on 6452 1266.