By Cheyanne Enciso
Research shows Australians who suffer from anxiety are putting up with the condition for almost a decade before seeking help.
Student assistance officer at Murdoch University, Mark Tan says lack of awareness could be one of the reasons why people take so long to seek help.
“Perhaps some people think that feeling a certain level of anxiety is normal…things like this can go unrecognised for years,” says Tan.
According to NPS MedicineWise (a not-for-profit, federally funded organisation), it can take more than eight years for someone with anxiety to seek professional help.
“Everyone will have situational anxiety in certain settings, but some people fail to realise that, if in their case, it’s a little bit more consistent and it fits a certain criteria then it’s more than just what a normal person would go through.”
He adds that university students have the mindset that since it is academia, the stress they are going through is normal and they just have to deal with it.
Dr Belinda Brown, a Psychology Research Fellow at Murdoch University isn’t surprised by the statistic given society’s knowledge and representation of mental illness.
“There’s a lot of stigma surrounding mental health, and so maybe that’s one of the issues.”
“People are embarrassed to seek help,” says Brown.
But she also believes society is getting better at destroying the stigma surrounding anxiety disorders.
She says since there’s been more representation in the media, it’s becoming better known, which in turn encourages a conversation among people.
She adds the more people talking about it results in a reduction of stigmas, which in turn will hopefully push those suffering to seek help.