R U OK? Is a day to inspire everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with those who may be struggling.
Professor Craig Hassed, Deputy Director at Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies, joined Bec and Jeziel to chat about mental health and wellbeing issues affecting Australians. He says our most concerning issue is suicide rates and mental health issues affecting young people, particularly young males. “That is one of the most important areas. Suicide generally and also providing support and destigmatising the problems associated with mental health. Especially for young people, that they can just feel all right to talk about it and just realise they are a human being and we all have our challenging times.”
Mental health problems compounded by social isolation can cause a situation of vulnerability. So it is important to prioritise having meaningful connections with those around you. “Relationships are really important. We don’t need thousands of friends. Just a few people in your life you can talk to about important things.”
Mindfulness can also make a positive impact on your mental and physical health. When you are not present or engaged in your daily life, your mind can slip into negative thoughts. You can become trapped living in the future by worrying about events that haven’t even happened. This can trigger your fight-or-flight response. “Mindfulness helps us to engage our attention more fully. We unhook from this tendency to worry and negative self-talk which feeds mental health problems. Over the long term, it can have a really bad effect on our physical health. So if we can switch that by being more present in the moment it can make a profound difference.”