The last 14 months have been tough. The impact is widespread. The effect on people’s personal and emotional wellbeing has been enormous. It is not something you can just throw money at and hope it goes away.
Mental health is a topic that I am passionate about. Having the support of Ron Lesh to pursues this accreditation is something that I am very grateful for. When I undertook the MH First Aid course, one of the great takeaways was that my role is not to diagnose but to simply come alongside people and point them in the right direction. This was empowering and showed WE can ALL make a difference. People often ask me how we in Victoria are faring in lockdown. Personally, while frustrated and limited at times, overall, I am doing okay. I have an amazing role and blessed to be a part of an incredible business. For this I am grateful. I do however have my days and to counteract this I do my best to live my life with the greatest level of normality. I regularly touch base with those most important to me. I do my best to watch my self-talk, exercising, taking breaks, get fresh air, limit my time on the media, create tasks and projects to keep me occupied.
However, my mind is NEVER far from those that are not doing well. The reality is that millions of people and across this state are suffering emotionally, mentally and financially. Businesses and lives touched devastating ways. Let’s add to this loneliness, lack of access to health care, 3 previous lockdowns, fear-mongering media and language, separation, home-schooling and the list goes on and on and we are pretty much beyond the tipping point of a mental health tsunami.
To back my observations, I read an interesting article in The Age on Saturday 5 June titled – “‘I can’t be bothered’: Victorians battling ‘compounding fatigue’ of lockdowns” by Wendy Tuohy, where Rhonda Andrew’s CEO of Barrington Centre, a corporate and wellbeing service provider, provided some very interesting data.
From 27 May to 3 June:
- 82% ⬆️ in demand for support
- 40% ⬆️ family conflict
- 55% ⬆️ workplace issues
- 82% ⬆️ mental health requests
The sentiment in this state from many that I speak to is that the idea of “We have done this before, we will do it again” or “We have got this”, simply does not cut it.
Many are tired. Many have no more to give. Many just want to get on with our lives and live. This is the reality that we as business leaders, managers and people across this state MUST acknowledge, work with and help navigate people through.
Each of us is touched by what is going on. And if we personally are not, then someone we know is. These lockdowns hurt and it is more important to be on the lookout for each other than ever before.
Please, if you are struggling, please do reach out. It is okay to not be okay. There are times where you will be trapped in thoughts of negativity or feelings of hopelessness. The reality is that it is hard not to be. It is normal. However, do your best to not stay in that space too long. If you do however find these thoughts and feelings lingering, take action. Speak to someone. Call your doctor. Early intervention works.
Make sure to look out for others also. Look for signs that they may be struggling. Be on the lookout for things like withdrawing behaviour, social media activity contrary to their normal behaviour, slow to or no response to messages, negative language, letting go of their appearance or hygiene. Pretty much, any behaviour outside of their normal selves is a window for you to ask the question “R UO K?” or “I have noticed this, is all ok?” Believe, it can make all the difference.
Be informed and across the resources like R UO OK?, Beyond Blue, and Headspace, to name a few. There are many great tools available to not only better understand mental health but to come alongside, and help others along their journey.
Finally, I cannot help but emphasise that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to put your hand up and say you need help. On the other hand, if you are doing okay, don’t be afraid to extend a hand and reach out to someone that you know is not and let them know you are there for them.
No judgment. No shame. No bias. Just listen.
Just genuinely care!
We can all make a difference.
Reference: Wendy Tuohy | The Age