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Intentionally focusing on wellbeing rather than mental illness

Thursday 7 November, 2019


This article was written by SA Mental Health Commissioner, Chris Burns CSC, and was originally published by the SA Mental Health Commission.  It is re-produced here with their permission.

 

“We know recovery from mental distress and illness is not just possible, but likely – especially when we offer human connection and support in our community.”

SA MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSIONER

– CHRIS BURNS CSC

 

As South Australia’s Mental Health Commissioner, I intentionally focus on wellbeing rather than mental illness.

This is because wellbeing is not just about responding to illness through a clinical perspective, but having the things we need to build and maintain our capacity to stay mentally strong and healthy.

During 2019 Mental Health Week, we pay particular attention to how we can take good care of our wellbeing. Of course, one week is not enough – we need to do this every day.

So I invite you to practise taking care of yourself. If you are feeling well you could offer some appreciation and gratitude for that, and the things that support your wellbeing, including those social determinants such as having a job, somewhere to live and the support of family and friends.

For those of us who may feel depleted, have high levels of distress or job and housing insecurity – and that can happen to anyone – we may need help and support. We need others to help us with a bit a self-care. Asking can be difficult if you feel like you’re a burden but family and friends want you to be OK – they want to hear from you.

If your wellbeing is strong and you have the capacity, why not reach out to others who may be distressed or don’t have enough support right now – maybe they don’t have a roof over their head or really need 24/7 attention for a little while? It can be as simple as sitting with them and listening, or maybe turning up with a casserole. Or simply asking: “What will help?” or “Can I take the kids for the night to give you a break?”

Wellbeing encompasses how we can take care of ourselves and/or get help from others if we experience distress, but also how we keep ourselves and support each other to stay well, which fits with our vision for South Australia to be internationally recognised as a resilient, compassionate and connected community.

We know recovery from mental distress and illness is not just possible, but likely – especially when we offer human connection and support in our community.

*Commissioner Burns’ blog was one of five featured on the SA Mental Health Commission website for 2019 Mental Health Week.


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