Supporting your mental health journey and building healthy communities
12 October 2020
The theme for Mental Health Week 2020 is Building Healthy Communities, particularly as it relates to the impact of COVID-19. The year 2020 has been filled with disaster and difficulty, from the devastating bush fires earlier in the year, followed by a pandemic on a scale that most people have not experienced in their lifetimes, and the economic aftermath in which we now find ourselves.
As we approach the holiday season and contemplate the end of the infamous 2020, how do we keep ourselves and our families well and contribute to building healthy communities that have the capacity to be resilient in the face of such unpredictable adversity?
Keeping well looks a little different for everyone, whether you live with a severe and complex mental illness, or experience periodic and circumstantial anxiety, our mental health impacts us all. It’s highly unlikely that anyone reading this will sit and think to themselves ‘my mental health is always excellent’.
Almost half the Australian adult population will experience a mental disorder at some time in their life and almost 1 in 7 children and adolescents (4 – 17 years old) are experiencing mental disorders now.*
Acknowledging this, as a community, is the first step to breaking down the historical and often intrenched stigma associated with mental illness. Stepping forward with care and compassion for those around you is what we urge all Territorians to do this Mental Health Week, start a journey and make it a lifelong habit.
How can you make a difference?
Check in with others - ask, listen, encourage action and check-in with those around you. These are simple ways that can make a difference to people in your life. If you feel or notice a change in yourself or people around you, reach out - don’t wait.
Look after you
Sometimes we are so busy looking after others that we neglect ourselves. We are the experts in our own lives and know best what keeps us well. This week, take some time just for you. Focus on what makes you feel relaxed, calm and happy. These rituals, which are often just 15 minutes, can make a lasting difference to ourselves, and our capacity to look after others and be part of what a strong community really is. It starts with us.