beyondblue launches ‘Get to Know Anxiety’

Today the four year old and I took a train trip into the city to attend the beyondblue launch of ‘Get to Know Anxiety. The combination of the amazing views from 89th floor of the Eureka Building and a stunning autumn morning in Melbourne was a perfect backdrop for this launch.  There very much is light beyond the blue for those suffering from anxiety.

At its core ‘Get to Know Anxiety’is an awareness campaign. Recent research conducted by Roy Morgan shows one in four Australians experience anxiety at some time in their life. And beyondblue believe there are hundreds of thousands of Australians out there who are suffering from anxiety who are not aware of it and therefore unable to receive treatment and help.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where a person feels under pressure, it usually passes once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed.

Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don’t subside. Anxiety is when they are ongoing and exist without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard for a person to cope with daily life. We all feel anxious from time to time, but for a person experiencing anxiety, these feelings cannot be easily controlled. {Source: beyondblue}

But to really understand what anxiety is, take a couple of minutes to watch the below short film featuring Ben Mendelsohn. If you are reading via email please click through here to see the video if it is not appearing.

{If you or someone close to you has experienced symptoms like these, visit or call 1300 22 4636.}

The film is powerful, completely in your face and is compelling to watch.  The film is important for awareness of anxiety as it names the symptoms of this mental health issue, common symptoms like:

  • hot and cold flushes
  • racing heart
  • tightening of the chest
  • snowballing worries
  • obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour.

Knowing the symptoms of anxiety is important as the key tagline for the campaign states:

You need to know anxiety to be free from it.

These above are just some of a number of symptoms that may be experienced. The Anxiety signs and symptoms page of the beyondblue website does detail more symptoms of the different types of anxiety disorders which are:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Phobias (specific and social)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder

The list of symptoms are not designed to provide a diagnosis (you need to see a doctor), but they can help individuals recognise and identify what they are going through and then point them in the right direction for treatment and help.

The good news is that anxiety can be responsive to self help strategies. The beyondblue website has a specific section for treatment of anxiety which you can find here.  Among the psychological treatments listed for treating anxiety, it even lists online e-therapies which you can do from your own home.

GPs and medication may be required for more severe cases of anxiety and the beyondblue website can help you find a medical or allied health professional in mental health in your local area that can help to diagnose, treat and manage anxiety.

Why focus on anxiety?

beyondblue anxiety launch DSC01113
The Hon Jeffrey Kennett AC, beyondblue Chairman who kicked off the launch of the campaign was asked a number of questions after his presentation and when asked about why the focus is on anxiety now, his answer was succinct and straight to the point:

Anxiety can lead to clinical depression.
75% of those who commit suicide have clinical depression.

Are we more anxious?

I thought his answer to the question as to whether we are now more anxious today than in previous years was insightful.  He acknowledged that when you focus on a subject a lot of things come out of the woodwork. For example when mandatory reporting for child abuse was introduced, it went from 3000 to 35,000 reported cases.  Talking publicly about issues destigmatises it and more people are likely to come forward, rather than there being in reality a significant increase in the incidence in the number of people suffering from the issue.

He did however add a caveat, which I think it is spot on. People are more stressed by being on call 24/7 and permanently switched on.  He stated that we need to learn how to manage this.

There is a health risk of being a servant of instant communication.

And in the words of Hon Jeffrey Kennett AC, with the anxiety campaign –

Bottom line is to make people better.

So with that in mind please share this message widely.  If 1 in 4 Australians suffer at some time in their life from anxiety, chances are you know someone who is suffering right now.

Beyondblue responds to those who have an illness and also aims to prevent it. It is trying to enable those with anxiety to recognise it, confront it and deal with it.

You can connect with beyondblue here: