News

Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing this New Year

By Corowa Free Press

Some Murrumbidgee communities have had a tough time this holiday season and a new year is traditionally a time to reflect.

Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN), Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) and Wellways are working together to encourage people to take care of themselves and each other during these tough times.

MLHD’s District Community Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Manager Alison Thorne said if you’ve been personally affected by a catastrophe or traumatic event, like the current drought or devastating fires, you may be experiencing stress.

“Even if you’re not directly in harm’s way, you may know someone who is, or you may be deeply affected by images and stories of devastation and suffering,” Ms Thorne said.

“And if you are feeling overwhelmed or vulnerable, you are not alone. Whatever the source, mounting, ongoing, or traumatic stress can make you feel worried, frustrated, irritated, exhausted, and unmotivated.

“It’s important to talk about how you might be feeling openly and honestly with someone you trust, and to look for ways to contribute to your wellbeing and resilience like yoga, exercise, gratitude, meditation, sleeping and eating well.,” she said.

MPHN CEO Melissa Neal said to help people feel more confident having various mental health discussions, Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR) training is being offered for free across the region.

“We also know this time of year can impact people adversely for a variety of reasons, and external factors such as the bushfires and ongoing drought can add to feelings of overwhelm,” she said.

“It’s always ok to ask for help. Talk to your family and friends and let them know how you’re feeling.

Check in with family and friends and ask if they are ok, and I would encourage people to consider adding completing QPR training to your New Year’s resolutions.

“QPR is online suicide prevention training and in under an hour you can gain the skills to identify someone who is at risk, the confidence to talk to them and the knowledge to connect them with professional care,” she said.

Visit www.lifespanmurrumbidgee.org.au to access the free, one-hour online QPR training.

You might want to seek help if you’re:

• worrying more than usual;

• finding it hard to enjoy your life;

• having thoughts and feelings that are difficult to cope with, which have an impact on your day-to-day life;

• interested to find more support or treatment; or

• worried about someone that you live with or care for.

Where to access supports:

• Murrumbidgee Accessline provides 24 hour/7 day per week support, advice and referral to mental health and drug and alcohol services on 1800 800 944. Carers, other health professionals and emergency workers can also use Accessline for advice about a person’s clinical symptoms, their need for care and local treatment options.

• In an emergency, if someone is in imminent danger always call triple zero.

• Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, 24/7; or text 0477 13 11 14 between 6pm and midnight

• Beyondblue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport for online chat (3pm–12am AEST) or email responses (within 24 hours).

• Online materials available at www.headtohealth.gov.au

• A full listing of support numbers can be found at www.healthdirect.gov.au/mental-health-helplines