Recognising the common symptoms of anxiety conditions will ensure people get help early. In recognition of this, beyondblue has launched the Get to Know Anxiety national awareness campaign.
The Get to Know Anxiety campaign features a short film starring Australian-born and internationally acclaimed actor Ben Mendelsohn. As the personification of anxiety, he introduces anxiety’s symptoms and challenges audiences to do something about it now that they recognise the signs.
This $2 million campaign is the first national anxiety-awareness campaign to target people across Australia and comes as a growing body of research shows the urgent need to educate Australians about this debilitating condition. Roy Morgan research shows the proportion of Australians aged 18 and over who reported experiencing an anxiety condition in the last 12 months has grown by almost 40 per cent in the last four years. The research showed 13.8 per cent, an estimated 2.44 million Australians, experienced an anxiety condition in the year to December 2012, compared to 9.9 per cent in 2008.
beyondblue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC said despite the high prevalence rate, most Australians are unable to recognise anxiety symptoms and so don’t get help because they do not know they are experiencing a treatable condition.
“Anxiety is even more common than depression with one in four Australians experiencing an anxiety condition at some stage in their lives,” he said. “But while the Roy Morgan data tells us anxiety conditions are a growing problem, separate beyondblue research shows only 12 per cent of Australians view anxiety as a major mental health problem, compared with 58 per cent who view depression as one. “An anxiety condition is, of course, different from stress, which everyone experiences occasionally, for example before exams or when giving a speech. “But when anxious feelings happen for no apparent reason or continue after a stressful event has passed, it may be a sign of an anxiety condition. “Given there are well over two million Australians living with anxiety today, we believe hundreds of thousands of those people are suffering without knowing what the problem is and without getting the treatment they need.
“The good news is, once they’re recognised, anxiety conditions are very responsive to treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy and relaxation training. There is no need to continue living with these symptoms without support.”
The short film will be shown in cinemas, on Facebook and YouTube, with the broader Get to Know Anxiety campaign being promoted online and on billboards.