The day began with prayer and a talk by CatholicCare Registered Psychologist, Tanya Russell. Tanya spoke about self care and how to deal with everyday stresses in life. It is so important it is to look after our own mental health. This can be done through social support, talking to others about not being ok or asking others how they are. It is important to invest time in being well, through exercise, sleep, healthy eating, mindfulness and living by our values. Approximately 45% of people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
We then listened a personal sharing of what it is like to care for someone with mental illness. Gail shared that as carers, family members can learn about the disorder, get support, connect with resources, be aware of emotional reactions, create healthy habits, seek professional help and take care of themselves.
All participants were then invited to take part in a mindfulness session. This was led by CatholicCare Counsellor, Gail MacDonell. In everyday life while doing routine activities, we can practise mindfulness by consciously ‘switching off autopilot’ and taking note of what we are doing and what we see.
The morning concluded with a wonderful performance by ‘Under Construction’, a choir that promotes positive mental wellbeing. The choir meets and performs monthly, and the members are a great community and support to each other. It was founded by Karen Harmon, and the choir not only sounds amazing, its members are like a family for each other.
Every person left the forum with a gift of a journal, from Koorong bookshop, and Vice Chancellor-Pastoral Ministries, Teresa Brierley, shared her take home thought from the day: ‘We are better off as a team.’