World mental health day 2018

How are you spending the 2018 World Mental Health Day? Well, for once I can say, I am spending it looking after myself. A stroke of luck means it falls on my day off work, and gives me the perfect excuse (not that I should need an excuse) to think about me.

It started with getting my hair done. This is one of the few luxuries I allow myself every 6 weeks. Today I am feeling grateful that I can afford this regular treat, because every cent is worth the feeling I get when I walk out a new and confident woman.

Today, so as not to waste this feeling, I have headed to the shops. I needed some clothes but have been avoiding shopping. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy it. Except……. when my hair looks great and I can look in the mirror and feel good. Don’t worry husband, I haven’t bought much! Just a new top for your do on Friday night! Oh….. and a couple of practical t-shirts!

Now, it is coffee time.

As I sit enjoying that familiar bitter but warm and milky taste, I realise I need to write. To share my feelings and thoughts on this day and to acknowledge mental illness.

For so long this part of our health care has been neglected by health professionals, by ourselves and ultimately by society. It is now beginning to seep out there. It is almost ok to admit you are not ok. I say almost, because there is still so much more that needs to be done. Did you know that most private health hospital funds cover hospital stays for physical illnesses but not psychiatric admissions??!! Why not?

The campaign ‘Are you ok?’ is a great start, but does anyone know what to do if someone says ‘No’. How do you help? Or are you too, now burdened with the weight of their mental health issues? Where should we be sending them?

I will be watching over the next few months and years to see exactly how mental health treatment changes in Australia and around the world. People need to know where to go and they need to be seen to quickly, currently we are just not equipped……. the suicide rates are proof.

For the meantime, sometimes just knowing someone cares is enough to get people through a bad spot, so please continue to ask your friends and family if they are doing ok. A listening ear and a shoulder to cry on is better than silence and loneliness.


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