Tune In: Mental Health Awareness Month

18 Oct 2020 by Rev Dr John Squires in: Letters, Thoughts, News

Tune In: conversations and connections during Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year 1 in 5 Australians experience a mental health issue. Approximately half of all individuals (45%) will experience issues with mental health in their lifetime. This could be you, a loved one, a family member, a friend, a colleague, a neighbour...

Mental Health Awareness Month comes around each October. It is a yearly reminder of the responsibility we all share to reach out and support those in the community who suffer in silence.

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Month 2020 in the ACT is Conversations and Connection. People struggling with mental health issues often find themselves isolated, lonely and left to cope on their own. This week, we are invited to look around us—amongst our fiends, amongst our acquaintances, amongst our neighbours, amongst our families—and reach out to someone, to anyone, whom you believe is feeling that loneliness. 

A simple conversation can provide a connection that strengthens mental health and revitalises a hopeful outlook on life.

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Month 2020 in NSW is Tune In. Tuning In means being present, being aware of what’s happening within you, and in the world around you.  Tune In to your senses – what can you sense right now? What can you feel?  Tune In to your communities – what’s happening that you can be part of, or that you can help others be part of? 

Tune In to stigma – how do attitudes and understandings of mental health and wellbeing impact people’s ability to live the lives they want? 

Taking a moment to Tune In can help still and focus your mind, it can help you understand what’s going on for you and others. Tuning In can help you find a new perspective, and it can help you reflect and be present. 

You can read more at http://mentalhealthmonth.wayahead.org.au/tune-in/

Beyond Blue has a helpful resource entitled “Mental health is about wellness rather than illness'' at https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/what-is-mental-health

SBS News recently reported that “statistics from the Coroners Court of Victoria suggest growing mental health awareness has helped prevent a spike in suicides during the coronavirus crisis.” See https://www.sbs.com.au/news/new-figures-suggest-mental-health-awareness-is-preventing-suicides-during-the-coronavirus-crisis

There has been a 25 per cent increase in the number of calls being made to Lifeline Australia, a charity that offers 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Lifeline provides 24 hour crisis support (phone 13 11 14). It began as a ministry of the Central Methodist Mission in Sydney and has now spread across Australia as a caring ear to assist people maintain a robust mental health. 

Some of the Lifeline centres maintain an active relationship with the Uniting Church—Lifeline Canberra is based in Pilgrim House, next to the Presbytery office, and Lifeline South Coast operates as an activity of Wollongong Mission, Wesley Uniting Church on the Mall. Lifeline South Coast has been active in providing mental health training in bushfire-impacted communities.

Lifeline has a fine toolkit, Getting through bushfires, drought and extreme climate events, which can be accessed at https://lifelinesouthcoast.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/web-feb2020-ll-4pp-tool-kit-getting-through-bushfire-drought-events-wffhyvnistxy.pdf

Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister—Wellbeing 

Canberra Region Presbytery
Uniting Church in Australia
0408 024 642
blogs on ‘An Informed Faith’
at https://johntsquires.com/