These crisis numbers have been kindly gifted from Maurs Hatcher from the Loud Fence Facebook page.
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636, chat online 3.00 pm - 12.00 am
Carers Australia: 1800 242 636
Headspace: 1800 650 890
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mensline Australia: 1300 78 99 78
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467, phone and online counselling 24 hours, 7 days a week
Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 1800 806 292
Victorian Mental Health Month runs from Sunday 7 October until Tuesday 6 November and included World Mental Health Day on Wednesday 10 October.
Local resident and Newsletter Delivery volunteer, Sue Walker, wrote about her experiences in the October edition of the Brown Hill Community Newsletter.
'World Suicide Prevention Day' and 'RU OK? Day' both fell in September. It is now 'Mental Health Month' in Victoria.
I am mindful that the Australian Bureau of Statistics data on suicide have just been released and they are sobering to read. See: ontheline.org.au/blog/. Australia-wide, we certainly have a lot of work to do and I believe this should, and could, start at a community level.
I am not mental-health qualified. However, as someone with a much-lived experience of mental health issues, having experienced them for most of my life, I know what has worked for me and would like to share, in case I can help others.
The aim of 'Mental Health Month' is to reduce the stigma and raise mental health awareness. The theme for this year is aimed at youth mental health and, with the rates for experiencing a youth mental health condition being 1 in 7, this is a much needed initiative.
More information can be found on the 'Mental Health Foundation' of Australia' website: mhfa.org.au. This organisation has a range of activities advertised to promote awareness of mental health. They have a section with crisis numbers for support and access to mental health first aid courses.
I have found a number of key things very helpful in managing when I have experienced times of challenging mental health. I hope this may be helpful to others.
1. Finding a good GP. Seeing them regularly and following their advice.
2. Linking in with other health providers as needed. Utilising the 'Mental Health Care Plan'. See: betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/mental-health-care-plans
3. Exercise. Swimming, cycling and walking work for me. This will be different for everyone.
4. Yoga. This is my relaxation, my fitness, my mindfulness and helps me ground myself and focus.
5. Connection. Be it with family, friends, online and/or in person. I try to stay connected - with my neighbours, with the community - to feel a part of something, particularly if I am feeling isolated.
6. Nutrition. I eat as much variety of healthy food as I can. If I don’t, my mental health will suffer. As simple as that.
7. Mindfulness. I am able to do this on my bush walks, just be still and quiet and take in nature. I listen to the birds for just 5 minutes to slow down my anxiety.
8. Art Therapy. I’m not fussed if I am creating it or looking at other people’s work. The latter is preferable to my family, as my art is not that good and they don’t like hurting my feelings when asked for their opinion!
9. Gratitude Journaling. I started this about 10 years ago. I record three things I am grateful for every single day. I buy a particular diary for this.
10. Time management and social media. I have had to learn boundaries, when to say "no" and when to limit time reading news and social media.
11. Pets. Pet therapy is pretty amazing and can really assist with a range of conditions. It is great for companionship, too.
12. Volunteering. Giving back in some way is a great way to connect with others and give back to your community. I have had many volunteers give their time, meals and care to me and my family throughout my life, so I like to return that favour in some form.
Sue Walker, Brown Hill Resident
In the June edition of the Brown Hill Community Newsletter, Sue shared these insights:
I first started my garden journey when I was a young teen, as a means of earning money. I pruned hedges in my parents' ¼-acre English cottage garden in Melbourne. They were knowledgeable about plants but never grew vegetables. They let me have a section of land to grow my first crop of tomatoes, zucchinis, squash and cucumbers. I was also given a small area to grow some flowers. It was in the shade and I planted marigolds. They didn’t grow well, of course, so I moved them over to my veggies and from there began my interest in companion planting, at the age of 16.
I would love to share some benefits of gardening at your place, or why not come and join the Brown Hill Community Garden Group?
I still love gardening. It plays a huge part in my well-being and has given me so much joy over the years to get outside, for even a few minutes a day no matter the weather.
Some benefits to gardening include:
These are just a few; there are so many more – too many to mention here, but please do consider joining the Brown Hill Community Gardening Group by contacting Geoff Dickson at Caledonian Primary School. All welcome.
Sue Walker, Brown Hill Resident