Imagine sitting in a lecture. Something seems to be muffling your ears so all you can hear is a buzzing drone. Then the ceiling begins to press down onto your chest. Is that person staring at you? Are they whispering about you? The walls speed towards your sides, crushing your ribs. Your heart starts to thump, faster and faster. Everything seems to speed up and then slow down. The lecturer suddenly sounds like he’s shouting right into your ear. Your mind is doing cartwheels, spinning like a top until your clasping at the chair with all your strength. But how can you get out? People are blocking you and there is no way to escape. What is happening? Jumping up, you try and leave, bumping into people’s knees things falling out of your bag. The floor seems to be shaking. Eyes burning holes into your back as you get out the room. But the feeling of being chased doesn’t leave your mind. You have no idea what just happened.
1 in 3 women will experience anxiety during their lifetime and 1 in 5 women in Australia will experience depression. But how many women in Australia and around the world don’t understand which signs to look out for? By understanding how your mind and body reacts to your hectic life it would.
This is where Liptember can come in. During the whole of the month of September women from across Australia paint their lips in red, orange, yellow green, purple and blue in order to raise funds and awareness for women’s mental health. The 2014 goals of the charity include the expansion of their online help service, which provides a live-chat crisis support system for women who are overwhelmed or unsafe. This is a crucial front line service, as suicide remains a leading cause of death for women aged 18-34.The campaign this year also aims to raise money to help women adjust both in terms of ‘parent training’ and emotional adjustments to parenthood. To facilitate this the money will go to providing midwives, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, infancy specialists, lactation consultants and allied health professionals.
When I first read about Liptember I was very sceptical. How on earth can wearing lipstick help female mental health? However, after thinking about it a little longer I realised that Liptember could help get rid of the stigma of mental health. And it can do one of the most important things. Bring awareness.
Not many individuals realise the pervasiveness of mental illness in Australian society. It is approximated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that in the year of 2007, almost half (45% or 7.3 million people) aged 16-85 met the criteria for a mental illness diagnosis at some point in their lives. Women, on the whole, suffer from more mental disorders than men, with a 4% difference between the genders (ABS 2010). Early intervention and help, like that provided by Liptember, is especially vital as over three-quarters of those who have experienced a mental illness first develop this before the age of 25
By just spending $5 dollars not only do you get a brand new lipstick, but you make a significant change to the lives of thousands of people who need urgent assistance. You can, alternatively, sponsor the campaigns of those lovely IH girls who have already donned their colours.