Helen Christensen, from Black Dog Institute, was one of the speakers at the recent Best Practice Forum. This was timely given the impact the pandemic is having on mental health. Whether it’s the loneliness of isolation or the stress of being stood down from your job due to restrictions, it is critical to be aware of both your own emotions and struggles and those of others around you.
It’s easy to ask someone “are you ok?” or “how are you coping?. However, quite often people will respond with a short or semi-positive answer to avoid giving further detail. One attendee suggested another question that might be a better conversation starter: “What are you missing now?”.
By changing the question, you can see how someone who might be feeling flat or worried could have a conversation that allowed you to see how they were coping.
Helen also highlighted the tools and resources section on the Black Dog Institute website. The digital tools and apps are helpful for people who are struggling mentally and a good resource for employers who may want to check in on their staff and offer support during these difficult times. The tools may also be useful for parents, especially those with teenagers during remote learning. The impact of not seeing friends or playing sport will vary for each child and may go unseen if they decide to put on a brave face as we all try and get through each week.
Help and support is available. Call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.