Veterans building mental health solutions

| January 15, 2019

According to the latest statistics, one in five Australians currently suffer from mental health problems.

In 2017 alone, more than 3000 people committed suicide, a 9.1 per cent increase on the previous year. The large number of mental health awareness campaigns have done a great job in shining light on the problem. But now itʼs time for solutions.

This is the message being driven by a group of Australian combat veterans behind the health promotion charity, Swiss 8. These veterans have experienced their own mental health problems. They get it. And now they are doing something about it.

“Veterans and civilians experience mental health problems in much the same way,” says Swiss 8 founder, Adrian Sutter.

“Adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression are problems in all western societies. So instead of asking the public to donate towards solving veteran problems, we put together a team of veterans, veterans who truly get it, and created a solution for this world problem.”

Current mental health organisations encourage people suffering from mental health to call a hotline or speak to a psych. The problem with this is that many people, when suffering from anxiety or depression, arenʼt ready to ask for help. This is not just about stigma itʼs about brain chemistry. Chronic exposure to cortisol as well as low dopamine and serotonin levels can make people not want help. It can make people not feel like themselves, cut off from social situations, develop hate for society and, at the time, feel like they are better off ending their own life.

Swiss 8 is in the final stages of development for its flagship health and lifestyle app. The app is aimed at building routine around eight pillars of healthy living, the core four being: fitness, sleep, nutrition and mindfulness, which have all been proven in numerous studies to reduce anxiety and depression.

The goal being, once the user builds healthy habits into a routine their cortisol levels will be returned to normal. Their ability to produce healthy levels dopamine and serotonin will return and they will be in a positive mindset, ready to pursue excellence in life again. Once they are at this point they are encouraged to speak to traditional mental health professionals.

Swiss 8 has partnered with the University of Newcastle to conduct studies which will implement the app as an intervention for adjustment disorder, anxiety and depression.

With the app two months from release, Swiss 8 launched the “I GET IT” social media campaign yesterday (January 14). The campaign is aimed at making people aware of the numbers and aware of the need for this solution. We want people to show the world they GET IT.

To be part of the campaign people are encouraged to simply take a selfie displaying the words I GET IT. Post it to social media and tag five mates. Statistically, five of these people will suffer from mental health issues.

The campaign has been backed by retired wallabies, crossfit athletes, UFC fighters, comedians, celebrity chefs, and a large number of veterans in the Australian and international veteran community.