Self-help responses to support mental health

words by Tackle Your Feelings, Tuesday 14 March 2023

We’re taking a look at some of the key findings from the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The national study was collected between December 2020 and July 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic,  with the findings released in late 2022.

The study found that over two in five Australians aged 16-85 years had experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life, while one in five had a 12-month mental disorder.

The connections people making through relationships, places and social activities can build a safety net for their physical and mental health. The study found that health connections with family, friends, partners and co-workers are known to lower levels of anxiety and depression.

Part of the study looked at how people interviewed managed their mental health and we’ve compiled some of the top responses and strategies to help support mental health. TYF program psychologist Luke Jankie has compiled some of his top tips for each category.

Practice Thinking Positively

According to the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, 28.6% of participants practiced thinking positively.

Our top tips:

Use Affirmations (short positive statements e.g. ‘I’ve got this!’): If you have time, listen to the Dyl & Friends: Nick Riewoldt episode where Nick talks to the power of positive thinking.

Focus on the good things: Make an effort to actively seek out the positive each day. Even amongst the challenges, make space for the positive. Ask yourself each day – what is one good thing that happened to me today? (or what is one enjoyable thing I want to do today?).

Practice gratitude: Identify three things you are grateful for each day.

Increase Exercise

The study found that 37.5% of participants increased their level of exercise or physical activity to help manage their mental health.

Our top tips:

Go for a walk or run: Use Strava to setup a plan and track your progress.

Try Pilates: There are great apps out there that offer 14 day free trials online and in the comfort of your own home, such as GoChlo Pilates.

Have a kick of the footy: Go down to the park and have a kick with a friend. There’s no better time with the community football season around the corner!

Engage with the things you enjoy 

27.6 per cent of people found focussing on the things they enjoy helped with their mental health.

Our top tips:

Walk the dog.

Watch an episode of your favourite series… we love Brooklyn 99 here!

Eat a Parma (or your favourite meal).

Play some golf… like our ambassador Steven May.

Connect with friends and family 

Just under a quarter (23.8 per cent) of respondents found connecting with friends and family improved their mental health.

There’s nothing better than a pre-gam parma before the footy… If you’re in Melbourne head to Swan St before the ‘G with family and friends, but this can be done anywhere!

Engage with relaxation 

23.4 per cent of respondents found engaging with activities they find relaxing helped with their mental health.

Our top tips:

Have a bath: Add magnesium salts to assist with muscle recovery, too.

Listen to music: Spotify has some great playlists to cover any mood.

Meditate: If you’re not sure where to start, there are some great online tools and resources to assist.

Need Support? If you know someone who requires urgent assistance or support, please contact:

Suicide call back service: 1300 659 467

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800

Emergency: 000

Support for AFL Players: If you are a current or past AFL Player and would like to know more about our specialised wellbeing and mental health services please contact the AFL Players’ Association at or Tel. 03-8651 4300 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 5pm). Click here to read our disclaimer.