Each year I notice the final few months of the year feature a significant buckling in relationships as couples try and power through in the lead up to Christmas. The intensity rises due to common struggles such as financial strain, too many social commitments and uncommunicated needs. From my experience, infidelity seems to peak, as does anxiety.
One thing we should all know is how many Australians are suffering from either depression or anxiety. Hopefully as Mental Health week is recognised each year, we are increasingly aware to confront the silent sufferers in the ‘grip of our mental health crisis’ as highlighted by Hugh Mackay, Sociologist, Psychologist and Social Researcher.
I’ve been honoured to interview Dr Mackay and look forward to communicating as much wisdom on his wealth of research in the coming weeks.
Mackay quotes Beyond Blue in that “two million Australians are suffering from a diagnosed anxiety disorder.” He says, “The good news is that the rate of youth suicide is falling. The bad news is that our overall rate of suicide is still rising… Fortunately, not all of those attempts succeed.”
One encouraging glimpse of hope is the work of our very own Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience -Thompson Institute. They are paving the way in ground-breaking research in suicide prevention which looks promising to turn around these statistics significantly.
One major theme for Hugh Mackay's work is his observation of our socially-fragmented society evident more than any previous time in our history. Why are our relationships in the community suffering?
There are a lot of folk I know living alone who love hogging the television remote all to themselves. Whilst they can enjoy such benefits as leaving as many dishes on the sink whenever they like, many do experience significant loneliness.
Loneliness is said to be in the top three social challenges facing Australia. It sounds like time for Sunshine Coasters to launch ourselves from our enviable surroundings to defy these trends.
We are created relationally, are social beings. When we feel loved, secure and attached to our people and surroundings, we flourish. Look beyond the real symptoms of anxiety and you’ll see the social fragmentation behind it. In my experience, loneliness and disconnection is usually the root cause of addictions too.
I look forward to revealing more of Hugh Mackay’s work in the coming weeks. In the meantime, do email me to let me know you’ve had a cuppa with your neighbour.
Joanne Wilson is a neuropsychotherapist, relationship specialist, radio co-host, workshop facilitator, guest speaker and weekly columnist for the Sunshine Coast Daily. Visit www.relationshiprejuvenator.com for your head start to reviving your relationship and listen in to her podcast discussing these articles and more, "Is This Love?"
If you’d like to know more on the Suicide Prevention Program at the Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience -Thompson Institute, visit www.thealliance.org.au and for urgent assistance, contact Lifeline on 131144.
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.
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Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples servicing areas including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.