October is Mental Health Month. To help ease challenges that come with isolation, the theme is ‘share the journey’. Here, the RFDS SE mental health team provides some insights and advice to help you support yourself when times are tough…
How to spot the signs
It can sometimes be hard to identify when you’re suffering with a mental health problem such as depression. Watch out for the following signs:
* Feelings of flatness that may fluctuate but not go away entirely. You may not get the same level of satisfaction or enjoyment from activities as you did in the past
* You might not feel like yourself, and you can’t seem to shake an unpleasant mood
* Loss of motivation, a feeling that even small everyday tasks are an effort to complete
* Feeling unable to relax, on-edge, angry or irritable
* Withdrawal from social activities
* Increased alcohol use, smoking, or use of other substances.
What you can do
To support yourself, make sure you are nurturing all of your physical, emotional, and social needs. The following ideas may help:
Take care of your physical health
Get adequate sleep; eat regular and nourishing meals; keep alcohol to an appropriate level; enjoy regular exercise; and keep your weight within recommended guidelines.
Take care of your emotional wellbeing
Ensure you are treated with respect by family, friends, and work colleagues. Try focusing on mostly positive thoughts to reduce unhelpful thinking patterns creeping in; try writing your thoughts down when you feel upset; and try using positive affirmations by noting five things you are good at or like about yourself, and remind yourself of them every day.
Take care of your social life
Stay connected with family and friends. Simple gestures go a long way - try calling a family member or friend, or meeting someone for a walk and a cup of tea. Caring for a pet, and saying g'day to a neighbour helps.
Where to go for help
- Talk to your GP, who can refer you to the RFDS SE mental health team or an independent psychologist.
- If you’re in the far west of NSW, phone the RFDS Broken Hill base on 08 8080 3777, who will be able to put you in contact with the mental health team
- Lifeline (13 11 14) is available 24/7 for crisis counselling.
- For more information on mental health month go to http://mentalhealthmonth.wayahead.org.au/
How the RFDS helps
The RFDS SE mental health team includes mental health nurses, drug and alcohol clinicians, a social worker, community engagement workers and a psychologist who provide help to communities in remote and rural locations.
Based primarily in Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo, the service bridges the vast geographic distance of the South Eastern Section travelling via air and road to do face to face consultations, as well as counselling and telehealth.
Responding to increasing demands, the team has grown in the last year. Some of the major milestones have included: welcoming a dedicated children and family therapist to our Broken Hill team; delivering regular yoga, mindfulness and relaxation clinics for children and parents in four outback schools; successfully piloting a new group program for women living with a trauma background; and the Federal Government announced additional funding, due to commence in 2019, for our mental health and alcohol and other drugs services.