One in five Australians believe people experiencing anxiety are bunging it on to avoid difficult or uncomfortable situations, says a new survey.
And about half of the 1200 people surveyed don’t know the basic facts about the mental health condition.
beyondblue is launching a revamped TV, radio and online campaign, Get To Know Anxiety, featuring the voice of Australian actor Guy Pearce.
“I have lived with anxiety ever since being a child and know how easy it is to be overwhelmed by the physical and mental symptoms described in this campaign,” he said.
“I am giving my full support to encourage people to identify symptoms, seek treatment, and move on to more fulfilling lives.”
The survey found that 80 per cent of the respondents acknowledged anxiety was a real condition, 45 per cent understood it affected a significant proportion of the population and 62 per cent agreed anxiety could be cured.
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“A quarter of us will experience anxiety at some point, so it is concerning that roughly half of us still have either misconceptions or are unaware of the condition, its symptoms and treatment,” beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman said.
“Anxiety is not just feeling stressed or worried, it is when these feelings don’t subside and are ongoing without any particular reason or cause.
“Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings can’t be easily controlled.”
The campaign also includes personal stories from anxiety sufferers who speak about their experiences with anxiety.
This is the third year beyondblue has run the campaign to increase public awareness of anxiety, Ms Harman said.
“It seems like some parts of the message are getting through but we need to keep the effort up,” she said.
“While it is great to see improvements in public awareness, what is of great concern is the number of people who have no knowledge about anxiety.
“Large numbers of people said they don’t know facts about the condition, which shows there is a lot of confusion and we are working to reduce that.
“It is not just the relatively small number of harmful and incorrect attitudes we are working to change, but the larger proportion of the public who are unaware that anxiety can be effectively be managed and treated.
“Anxiety can be effectively managed through a range of treatments that can ensure a person learns how to control their anxiety, rather than let it control them.”