What are you doing to care for you?

Most adults have a car, right? Functioning without one would be hard.

I’m sure we can all agree that none of us would want that car to break down. Not only is it usually a costly exercise but one that creates massive inconvenience in our home and work lives.

That’s why many of us do the ‘right’ thing and have our cars serviced regularly. It helps us to prevent any major issues or if one is on the horizon, to prepare proactively.

Well, what if I were to ask you to consider managing proactively your mental health, in the same way?

Good mental health underpins all aspects of a person’s life, including self-worth, forming and maintaining relationships and the ability to perform well in work and study. 

It’s what helps you move from crying over spilt milk to knowing you can just as easily pop down to the shop and buy another carton.

Proactively seeking counselling on a regular basis can help to navigate mindfully many of life’s challenges, embrace opportunities and in some cases avoid a breakdown ‒ of relationships, trust and confidence.

Prime Minister John Howard was so convinced of the benefits of counselling that he introduced ten heavily subsidised sessions for each Australian, per calendar year, as part of ‘Mental Health Care Plan’. So, embrace it!

CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning recently hosted a community event, featuring the talented and passionate author and advocate, Tracey Spicer. Renowned for the courage of her convictions, passion for social justice and commitment to equality, she also has a wicked sense of humour.  In recent years Tracey made national headlines for her candid insight into life as a female presenter – including being sacked via email after having a baby and being subjected to stifling grooming standards. In 2017 Tracey released her first book, The Good Girl Stripped Bare, which became a best-seller within weeks.

CatholicCare’s event was a sell-out, attracting over 200 Novocastrians including the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Nuatali Nelmes. It was facilitated by Newcastle City Councillor and former ABC Radio presenter, Carol Duncan.  Proceeds from the event were directed to local charity ‘Got Your Back Sista’, which works to see women and their children happy, thriving and living independently after escaping the trauma of domestic violence.

Tracey’s presentation left attendees feeling empowered. She encouraged them to move away from social expectations to embracing new opportunities created through authenticity. She spoke about the support she received from family and friends as well as through counselling.

As moving as Tracey’s presentation was, and indeed it was ‒ with many standing to applaud ‒ all too often when you attend events with inspiring speakers, read a self-help book or listen to a podcast, you’re motivated in the moment but seldom follow through with the action required to make lasting change. Instead, we’re easily overcome with negative self-talk, don’t have the tools to build resilience or find mustering motivation isn’t always as easy as first thought.

That’s why I want you to know you’re not alone. CatholicCare is here to help. We help people just like you ‒ people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and walks of life. Some seek guidance on family matters, others may desire coaching so they can progress in their career, parents may need advice on managing their children’s behaviour and some may need support to leave an abusive relationship. The list goes on. 

Accessing counselling is not a sign of weakness. It is an act of courage and an invaluable investment in your emotional, physical and mental health.  

Many people who initiate counselling do not have a mental illness. Often they are facing challenges that may be taxing their current ability to cope.

Your psychologist will help you to know that it’s okay not to be okay all the time. Like a mechanic asking about your car, s/he will listen to you. A psychologist can also assist you to gain clarity on issues that matter to you and build on your strengths, all heightening your ability to cope. 

I urge you to consider investing in a good psychologist ‒ one of our skilled psychologists at CatholicCare, where we have just recruited additional team members who have appointments available as soon as tomorrow; or somewhere else. 

We’re happy to fork out the big bucks for a gym membership or a trip to the hairdresser but reluctant to look after our mental health ‒ and yet it’s our mental health that underpins every relationship in our lives. 

Please visit www.catholiccare.org.au or P (02) 4979 1120 to learn more.

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Lizzie Watkin Image
Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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