Asking for help one of the hardest parts

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Bella Ogier is encouraging others to speak up about their mental health issues.
Camera IconBella Ogier is encouraging others to speak up about their mental health issues. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Asking for help was one of the hardest things Bella Ogier has ever done.

Ms Ogier has struggled with her mental health for years, but headpsace Albany has helped her change her life.

That is why she wants others to have the courage to come forward and ask for help this Mental Health Week.

The national awareness week encourages Australians to speak up about mental health and reflect on how the community can help those who are suffering.

Ms Ogier said the message behind the week was a “huge thing for her”.

“It is very important to ask for help — as I have found out,” she said.

“You have that feeling that if I ask for help, will I be shamed? I try to encourage everyone that I know who has a bit of an issue to come forward.

“A lot of people don’t know how to ask or where to go.

“I have been able to seek more than I need from headspace — counselling, a doctor, I attend the activities.”

Headspace revealed new data this week that showed 62 per cent of young Australians say youth mental health is getting worse. In the survey, 37 per cent of respondents said social media was one of the leading contributors, along with expectations from school, family or community, and work or study pressures.

Ms Ogier said social media had had an impact on her mental health.

“Social media bullying and harassment, there are people behind computers who can easily shame everyone else,” she said.

Headspace Albany Manager Andrew Wenzel said while social media was not all bad, it could present challenges.

“Lots of young people coming to headspace Albany describe issues with spending too much time on social media — disturbed sleep or cyberbullying, or just not being able to get away from it,” he said.

The Mad Hatter Tea Party takes place tomorrow in the town square, bringing together mental health services from across Albany.

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