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National campaign targets anxiety

Kuluin’s Mason Hope, 13, has learnt how to overcome anxiety.
Kuluin’s Mason Hope, 13, has learnt how to overcome anxiety. Brett Wortman

YOU have a sudden tightening in your chest, you feel hot and cold and your mind is plagued with thoughts of self-doubt.

And this condition has been recurring for more than six months.

You are anxious and no, it is not normal.

The good news is help is available.

Beyondblue has launched its landmark national awareness campaign to help Australians recognise the most common symptoms of anxiety conditions.

The $2 million push is the first anxiety-awareness campaign to target people across Australia.

It came as Ray Morgan research showed the proportion of Australians aged 18 and over who reported experiencing an anxiety condition in the preceding 12 months had grown by almost 40% in the past four years.

Beyondblue chairman Jeff Kennett said despite the high prevalence rate, most Australians were unable to recognise symptoms and did not get help because they failed to realise they were experiencing a treatable condition.

Mr Kennett said anxiety was different from stress, which everyone experienced occasionally.

"When anxious feelings happen for no apparent reason or continue after a stressful event has passed, it may be sign of an anxiety condition," he said.

Kuluin's Mason Hope is only 13, but he was mature enough to realise his panic attacks weren't normal.

"I was getting bullied and was very anxious," Mason said.

"I wouldn't want to go to school. I'd stay at home and have panic attacks."

Mason "found Headspace" - a youth organisation to help people battling difficulties - and joined their youth engagement committee".

"They showed me opportunities to help myself and help others," he said.

Topics:  anxiety beyondblue campaign mental health


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