Maintaining good mental health

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A word from our CEO, Brad Webb:

Share a cuppa, share a hug or – my personal favourite – share a tune. These are a few of the suggestions for Mental Health Month this year, under the banner Share the Journey.

Two people holding cups  

Mental ill health can feel very lonely. Share the journey is about connecting with others to share activities and interactions to assist and maintain good mental health for ourselves, friends and our loved ones.

Mental health and mental illness are closely linked. Without actively working on maintaining good mental health, we could more easily fall into mental ill health. Youth mental health service, headspace, has shared insights about the connection between mental health and mental illness.

October is a busy month of activities and awareness raising for mental health services like headspace. This week also marks headspace Day, a national day to support the wellbeing of all young Australians. Samaritans is proudly the lead agency for headspace in Maitland.

Manager of headspace Maitland, Felicity Scott, has shared below how they are marking this important occasion within Mental Health Month.

headspace Day is about encouraging young Australians to learn some simple tips to help them maintain a healthy headspace.

At Maitland we’ll be having a day of activities on October 12 for all local young people to get involved in. There will be art classes, yoga, slime making, sensory rooms, music and young people from our Youth Reference Group sharing experiences of their own journey.

headspace Maitland recently celebrated its 10th birthday and we’re proud to have now launched an outreach service in Muswellbrook and soon in Cessnock. Our regional isolated areas have higher rates of mental ill health and it is something we are certainly focused on right now.

Mental Health Month is such an important month to learn about not just our own mental health but how to best support those around us. Across October there will be free, one-day youth mental health first aid courses offered in both Maitland and Dungog.

For headspace Maitland during Mental Health Month and beyond, we are hoping to reach out to more people in our regional and rural communities so we are able to support good mental health for as many young people as possible.

The importance of services like headspace cannot be underestimated. Last month I had the privilege to attend the launch of a new, additional service to work alongside headspace, Youth Complex Mental Health Services. This program supports young people facing severe mental illness. A service such as this has been needed for a long time, to bridge the gap between primary and acute care scenarios. Well done to Felicity and her team who were instrumental in its preparation.

Not long ago we marked RUOK? Day by checking in on the people around us by asking, “are you ok?”. For Mental Health Month and beyond, let’s commit to supporting our friends, family and loved ones in maintaining good mental health and sharing this journey together.

To reduce the stigma attached to mental health and mental illness, and to help shed a positive light on mental health, I’ve added to the Promise Wall for World Mental Health Day tomorrow. I’d encourage you to take a look and consider adding your own promise.

Let this be the start of a month of sharing cuppas, tunes and connections with those around us.

PS Many years ago, I compiled a playlist of the music that lifts me up. On the days I am struggling, I often turn to ‘Happy Songs’ to lift my spirit and reframe my perspective. It really works for me.

Image with Brad's World Mental Health Day promise

My mental health promise is to continue to be a better advocate for mental health – on behalf of my colleagues, my family, my friends and myself.