This is a significant time in human history. There is no doubt that COVID-19 has shifted the collective consciousness of humanity and we are all facing new norms that will change the way we think and live forever. I believe the way each of us learns to respond and adapt during these times of adversity, especially in the way we re/connect with others, will have a profound influence on future generations. In times such as these, when we are more disconnected than ever, physically, we should see the unique opportunity that our collective experience allows us, to bring us closer together.
It is also important we understand that due to accelerated change, financial stresses and loss of life, the conversation about mental health and wellbeing has never been more important. It’s time to have the conversation and not just talk about having it.
While we look to set goals for ourselves in quarantine, let’s do so with the intention to make ourselves better for our loved ones. If playing music makes you more present, reading makes your communication skills better or exercise gives you more motivation, I encourage you to use these skills in all aspects of your life and to help others who may be suffering.
Rethinking Perspectives on Mental Health
“People, Stories, Perspective” - This is the mantra Conviction Group lives and breathes.
A charity started by one of my friends after he finished high school, Conviction Group, runs a Men’s Health Forum, which brings together over 900 Year 10 male students a year. Each forum includes six relatable speakers who, through telling their personal stories, give the young men perspective on issues such as mental health, alcohol fuelled violence, body image, drug abuse and healthy relationships. The main objective of this forum is to change the way we talk about our wellbeing, by taking a proactive approach, rather than just a reactive one.
We live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you’re depressed, everyone runs the other way. That’s the stigma.
As a group facilitator for Conviction Group, my aim for the day is not to tell my group of young men about these issues, but to facilitate the conversation so the group can learn that it’s okay to talk about these tough issues we all face.
My Isolation Goal
Learning a new song, takes patience, focus, and determination and most importantly being present. Just starting a song can be intimidating. I think I understand the challenge ahead, until the YouTube teacher contorts his spider fingers into a shape I did not think possible. Getting the smallest chord right, sends serotonin rushing through my brain and the motivation to move onto the next. One week later, the mountain of a challenge doesn’t seem as high as I first thought and soft quiet practicing turns into a mini rock concert in the living room.
The more I seem to practice, the more I feel being present effortlessly becomes part of my day. I have noticed this is not just having an impact on me but the people who surround me. I feel a greater ability to engage in deeper conversations, pick up on emotional cues and react to stressful situations in a different way. I am learning to become more comfortable and content in the moment, more sensitive and aware of what and who surrounds me.
The conversation about mental health has never been more important. For those who suffer and find getting out of bed hard enough, I understand setting a goal is like looking up at an unclimbable mountain. Please, have hope. There is support and the right information out there for you.
If we all practice these skills and bring them into our daily life, addressing conversations around mental health will become our new normal.
We have been given an opportunity to slow down, pause and connect with ourselves and each other like never before. To listen to, learn about and understand each other on a more personal level. It’s now time to pick up the phone and call our family, friends and colleagues.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline (Aged 5 to 25 years): 1800 55 1800
MensLine: 1300 78 99 78
Headspace: 1800 650 890