A new national not-for-profit project aims to find out whether Australians are feeling happy, sad, powerful, peaceful, anxious or angry for one week from October 5th.
It is believed to be the first ever national barometer of the nation’s mood to be done in real time.
Lee Crockford, the CEO and Co-Founder of Spur Projects (which works actively in the area of men’s mental health and suicide prevention), says data suggests that one million Australian adults have depression and up to two million suffer from anxiety.
Mr Crockford says that while the project cannot be considered “hard science”, he hopes it will help generate a larger, national discussion about how Australians really feel.
He says large numbers of people who need help with their mental health don’t seek assistance and this project aims to encourage people to seek help if needed.
The project is very easy to take part in:
- Just download the free, easy to use App to take part (available in the iOS & Android App Stores or from www.howisaustraliafeeling.com)
- Everyone who participates will do so privately and anonymously
- Three times a day users will be asked to press a button to simply reveal how they are feeling at that moment in time, with users able to change the frequency of prompts
- The App then prompts the user to respond throughout the week
- The user can select from ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘peaceful’, ‘powerful’, ‘anxious’ or ‘angry’
- Anyone who chooses 'sad', 'anxious' or 'angry' twice will automatically be prompted to consider seeing a GP via a pop-up message.
“We know that a recent report shows a growing trend towards using online services for mental health.
"Approximately 50% of young men now use the internet to find information about mental health, yet less than 25% would recommend 'face-to-face' mental health support. We need to find new ways to translate online engagement to real world interaction.”
“Certainly, many people aren’t sure what to do with their feelings. How have we let ourselves become a country where, for some people, it’s an easier option to take their own life than to ask for help? As a nation we simply have to learn to talk about how we’re feeling.”
Mr Crockford believes there is a need for "real conversations" on a national scale about mental health.
"The 'How is Australia Feeling?' project is one step in this process. We urge people to seek help and information if they feel they need it.”
He said that the project is stage one of a larger project to create impactful campaigns around issues linked to mental health – particularly men’s mental health.
"The conversation around mental health in central Melbourne is totally different to what is required in Longreach Queensland – and we need to understand those conversations better."