Stock your mental health toolkit with free webinar

Picture: PeacefulBayside Mental Health Toolkit webinar
Picture: PeacefulBayside Mental Health Toolkit webinar

After weeks and weeks of lockdown, everyone is feeling strain.

That's why is so important to keep up your mental health and check in on others.

Sans Souci mental health clinician Mark Micelli recently chatted to Peaceful Bayside found Heidi Lee Douglas in a free hour-long webinar about restocking your mental health toolkit.

He told the Leader now was a great time to work on your own mental wellbeing.

"It's really the perfect time to improve your mental health and say, 'I'm going to do something about this'," Mr Micelli said.

"Checking out the webinar is a good start, and if you want to reach out there are plenty of support services to work with.

"Essentially what people can expect is some brief, straightforward, to-the-point tips and information that would validate the challenges of being in lockdown and provide a summary of the state of mental health in Australia since COVID-19."

Mr Micelli said R U OK? Day did a great job of highlighting the steps you can take to engage someone in a conversation about their own mental health.

You can ask someone how they are feeling directly ("if you have reason to believe they've been struggling, don't be afraid to tell them what you've noticed"), listen with an open mind ("don't feel pressure to fix the problem or solve it, just create a space where you can listen"), encourage action like visiting a GP, and follow up later to see how they're doing.

Mr Micelli said it could be difficult to talk about your mental health struggles, but it was an incredibly brave thing to do.

"People can feel uncomfortable talking about it, and it's so easy to just say 'I'm fine' even if you are struggling," Mr Micelli said.

"The general statistics show a 30 per cent increase in mental health challenges during COVID, which is even a bit conservative.

"A big part of mental fitness is connecting with others, and with lockdown in place we're not being able to do that as much as we would like to.

"Putting your hand up and saying 'I need help, I'm not doing so great' is the first step to improving your life."

Mr Micelli said talking about your mental health was important and could strengthen relationships, but if you were not willing to share with loved ones or friends, then reaching out to a therapist or online resources was a great alternative.

View the webinar and all associated mental health resources at peacefulbayside.com/mentalhealthtoolkit.