It’s probably not a surprise to hear that mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicide are on the rise during the 2020 Covid pandemic.
With an increase in job losses, overworking, family concerns, and being isolated, many Australians (and others around the world) are experiencing problems perhaps more prevailing than any other time in our generation.
Did you know during the first week of Victoria’s second lockdown that Lifeline received 22% more calls than the previous year? And this research forecasts an increase in suicide deaths of at least 13.7% over the next 5 years. These stats are compiled with the existing stat from last year that over 45% Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
The Covid pandemic has affected our mental health for many reasons. It won’t be solved overnight but, there are some things we can do about it. And one of those is to support R U OK Day.
R U OK Day takes place every second Thursday of September. It’s a day to shine a light on the importance of mental health, and also most importantly to spread awareness that it’s 1) OK to check in on your mates by asking the question, “Are you OK?” and 2) it’s OK to respond with the truth, even if the truth is that you’re struggling. And even though there are more posts shining a light on it in September than any other month of the year, it’s something the R U OK organisation encourages you to practice year-round.
It’s also about raising awareness to check in on the welfare of yourself. Here’s 3 ways you can keep your mental awareness in check.
Steer Toward Thinking Positive
Give yourself credit not criticism, and be aware of your negative thoughts. When you notice them, take mental note of them and see how you can spin them to be more positive. Maybe you can’t and that’s OK too. But instead of allowing the negative thoughts to fester, why not do something about it? We think it's great to journal, go for a walk, or call a friend or family member. All of these are great ways to start retraining your mind think more positively.
Do Something You Love
Just like you schedule a meeting at work, schedule some “you” time each week. Some of our favourites are: get a workout in or a yoga sesh, taking a bath or relaxing in the spa, or spend time with friends.
Look After Your Body
Physical exercise, walks, a healthy diet and consistently enough sleep are key to keeping your body healthy. But these acts of kindness toward your body are also for the mind, as well! In fact, several researchers have found exercise to be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety. It can help boost energy levels, improve self-esteem and increase endorphins aka the body’s natural feel-good drug.
So what are you waiting for? There’s so many ways to get involved. One is to simply to start checking in with your friends (or yourself). You can also donate to the organisation behind this day, who work year-round to help those in need.
Here at Virgin Active during the month of September, you might see us hosting special awareness classes and we hope you join. Simply contact your local club today to see how you can get involved.
R U OK has gathered a group of important contacts to help. It’s important to note that neither R U OK nor Virgin Active is a crisis support or counselling service and is not a substitute for professional care. If you need professional support, please contact your doctor, local health centre or one of the services listed here. Family and friends can also call upon these services for advice and assistance on how to support someone who is struggling with life.