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Managing anxiety when your fear comes to life

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Bushfire trauma can have a profound impact on existing mental health issues. Finding the right support is key to getting through disaster recovery and bushfire anniversaries.

The town of Wolumla, on the New South Wales south coast is a small village just south of Bega, surrounded by picturesque farmland. But over the summer of 2019/20, the landscape changed. On New Year’s Day, a ring of flames surrounded the region, with fires burning to the north and south. The sky turned orange, blotting out the sun. The ground was blanketed in ash. Fear gripped the town.

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Taking steps to rebuild relationships through bushfire recovery

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Bushfire trauma puts huge pressure on even the strongest relationships. It’s important to realise you’re not alone as you recover.

Bushfire disaster is a perfect storm for anxiety. A lack of control of the situation combined with the threat of loss can be a fertile ground for feelings of despair, uncertainty and hopelessness.

Grace, from Long Beach NSW, knows this all too well. She and her family were evacuated three times during the Black Summer fires. And while their house survived, her childhood home, where her parents still lived, was lost to the flames – an event she describes as heartbreaking.

The menacing fires and displacement both brought out strong anxious feelings for Grace. “It’s hard when you suffer from anxiety as it is,” she says. “Then, when you’re faced with that fear, it’s even harder.”

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Top tips for coping with anxiety during COVID

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As part of SANE's COVID mental health series, one of our Help Centre counsellors shares their top tips for coping with anxiety. 

Does uncertainty make you anxious? If you’re like most people in Australia, you’ve been dealing with uncertainty and change because of COVID. If this has caused you anxiety, you’re not alone. It’s natural to experience challenging emotions during a pandemic! But, if you’re finding you can’t get a break from anxiety, stress and worry, it’s important you have strategies to help you get through. 

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Anxiety: New book from SANE Board Director Dr Mark Cross

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"When the idea for this book was mooted, I was excited. During the first conversation with my publisher, I was already working out the layout in my head and making a list of people I'd interview. That was before my anxiety kicked in ..."

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Mark Cross knows a lot about anxiety. Many of his patients experience it, which is hardly surprising given anxiety is the most common mental health issue in Australia.

But Mark also knows about anxiety from another perspective, because he too has lived with it all his life.

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Brisbane boy hosts 24 hour fundraising climb after brother's struggle with OCD

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What were you doing in Year 12?

Brisbane student Rohan is putting all of our teenage selves to shame by organising an ambitious fundraiser for SANE Australia, with a goal of raising $5000.

"I decided to run a 24 hour climb-a-thon at Kangaroo Point cliffs with a team of 12 climbers" he says.

"The reason I chose this is because my older brother has struggled with anxiety and OCD for many years, which also led to a period of addiction to a medically prescribed drug. I have seen first hand the impact of this on the individual, their family and friends and know how important it is for so much more research to be done to support mental health awareness and issues. I found SANE Australia and like the work they are doing, so I decided to make a difference through supporting them."

Rohan (second from left) and a group of climbing friends

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Five things people get wrong about anxiety and depression

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Around three million Australians are affected by anxiety or depression.

It's a mental health issue that should be familiar to many. It may be a parent, sibling, spouse or friend, but someone you know will have experienced anxiety or depression at some stage in their life.

Yet, despite the prevalence and improved understanding, people living with anxiety or depression often experience stigma and misunderstanding. A laugh. A snide comment. A generalisation. No matter the malice, stigma hurts and can stop people from seeking help.

To help break down the stigma we asked five SANE Peer Ambassadors to list what people get wrong, and what they wished people knew about anxiety and depression.

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Busting the myths about anxiety disorders

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Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia, on average one in four people will experience the illness at some stage in their life. 

Yet a common myth is that anxiety disorders are rare.

Despite the prevalence there are many myths surrounding anxiety. These myths can create stigma and prevent help seeking. So it's important to know the facts.

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This is my story

This is my story

Living with a mental illness can be a daunting situation.

People often feel ashamed, alone, and totally misunderstood. Add to that the misperception and stigma of mental illness. This is particularly exacerbated for people who suffer from a severe mental illness.

Due to this misunderstanding and judgement, people are often categorised into 'the weirdo’ basket. What most people don't realise is that mental illness can affect anyone.

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Guest Blog: What about the ME in Mental Health?

Guest Blog: What about the ME in Mental Health?

Silence is the absence of noise, as peace is just the absence of war. Silence defined me for so long. It was a strategy and a symptom all rolled into one.

I do not want to be silent any more. I want to say all those things I could not in my youth.

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