Look after your mental health

With school holidays underway or soon to start around the Country, our Executive Director, Jackie Brady, is enjoying a well-deserved (and long overdue!) break away with her family in Queensland.

Ensuring our workdays are peppered with times of respite and self-care – walks in the wilderness, meeting friends for coffee, quiet time reading a novel – are all important to our mental health and wellbeing. But extended downtime is critical too. After a busy school term, I’ve observed my teenage twins ease into and relish that downtime over the past few days. Unfettered from the 8:50am school bell and homework demands, I can see them visibly relax.

It’s World Mental Health Day on 10 October and the message is clear “Look after your mental health Australia”. Of course, this message speaks not only to looking after our own mental health but also looking after the mental health of our communities.

FRSA members regularly tell us that the children, families and communities they work with are experiencing mental health challenges now more than ever. Poor mental health has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and cost of living pressures aren’t helping. I’ve been struck over the past week or so by the number of news articles reflecting on the mental health of our children and young people and the rising cases of school refusal. Kids are feeling anxious and unable to pass through the school gates, or even leave their homes. I wonder what school holidays feel like for them?

As we approach World Mental Health Day, I want to acknowledge the amazing work our members and friends do every day to keep children, young people and families safe, supported and held – especially when external clinical mental health supports are at capacity.

I take this opportunity to put out two reminders:

By Dr Robyn Clough

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