Not ok

By Bindy Taylor
Communications Manager & Editor-in-Chief

Posted in Culture

At this time of year, the influx of mental health campaigns and awareness days significantly increases the exposure of mental health. One such awareness day that encourages action is “R U OK?” day. On the second Thursday in September every year, people are encouraged to have meaningful conversations with family, friends and colleagues.

Each year, this campaign seems to gather more and more momentum. My social media feed lights up with photos and encouragement, reminding me to check in with loved ones. My mind always goes to those who I haven’t heard from for awhile, people I know that have struggled with mental ill health, and those who have experienced unexpected, life-changing events.

This year, I purposefully checked in with a friend who I hadn’t heard from in awhile. After a couple of text messages and a quick phone call, I soon found out she wasn’t OK. I assumed her family were looking out for her, but other priorities and illness meant those who were usually close by were consumed with their own well-being. I arranged a visit where she was quick to open up about how she was feeling – and the negative chain of events that had left her feeling helpless and hopeless. Her emotions were real and raw, and she was filled with sadness.

After the visit, I followed up with daily calls and regular catch-ups, until she met with a doctor and finally began feeling good about life again. At our most recent catch-up, I couldn’t help but smile as she spoke about her passions and plans for the future. It was like my old friend was back again.

Mental ill health can be incredibly lonely and isolating. Sometimes it just takes one word or comment or a small action to see how someone is going, and to provide help and support.

Mental Health Week is held from 8-14 October and Tuesday 10 October was World Mental Health Day. One of the themes for this year is “Connect with nature, connect with community, and connect with self for mental wellbeing”.

Christians are called to be in community with one another. Let this calling and this theme be encouragement for connecting with others during Mental Health Week. You never know how this may impact the life of another.

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