In this issue:

  • CEO Update
  • MWP Care Limited Annual General Meeting
  • One Foot Forward: The Walk For Mental Health
  • How volunteering can help keep your mental health in check
  • Mental Health Month
  • 10 ways to take care of yourself during coronavirus

CEO Update – October 2020

Mental health is achieving a state of wellbeing in which an individual can cope and is resilient to the stresses of everyday life. We are all too familiar with the pressures that 2020 has placed on us personally and on our community, making it more critical than ever before to achieve a sense of balance and mental wellbeing in our lives.

October is Mental Health Month, with World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October. Mental illness covers a broad spectrum of conditions from mild anxiety to psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia. It is the most pervasive health issue facing society today with one in three women and one in five men in Australia suffering from anxiety.

Remaining socially active is an important contributor to improving ones mental health. Obviously in today’s COVID-19 affected we need to be careful, but there is an important distinction between social distancing and physical distancing.

At MWP Care, we seek to provide important social connections for older people in our community to help improve their mental wellness. Social outings such as attending a Movie Day and essential services like our assisted shopping and accompanied medical appointments provide important social connections. Our goal wherever possible is to build the bond between our volunteers and our clients by ensuring the beneficiaries of our services see a familiar, cheerful face each week. Many of our clients know too well the distress of social isolation, a condition which has unfortunately been experienced by or many more in 2020.

Safety and independence are key to MWP Care’s mission. We are dedicated to supporting vulnerable members of our community people such as older people and people with a disability and their families by providing these important services.

Of course this would not be possible without our generous and devoted volunteers and we thank you all for your support in helping to battle mental illness in our community.

Stay safe and stay well.

Kind regards,

Grant Simpson
CEO, MWP Care

MWP Care Limited Annual General Meeting

Notice of the MWP Care Limited Annual General Meeting on 19/11/20 at 3pm to be held at Pittwater RSL Club – all staff and volunteers welcome.

One Foot Forward: The Walk For Mental Health

Source: Black Dog Institute Website

October is Mental Health Month.

Join with The Black Dog Institute and walk for the 1 in 5 people in Australia
who experience symptoms of mental illness each year.

How It Works

1. Sign Up: Sign up for FREE to take part as an individual or create a team with family and friends.

2. Share: Share your page to tell everyone you’re walking in solidarity for those living with mental illness.

3. Walk: Start walking and log your kms throughout October for Mental Health Month.
https://www.onefootforward.org.au/register/one-foot-forward/member

How volunteering can help keep your mental health in check

Source: ABC Life

Tegan Huntley is a sought-after hairdresser, but once a month she shuts up shop to offer her services free-of-charge to the homeless.

“It’s not about me,” she says.

But it is a tiny bit about Tegan. The 41-year-old says volunteering also has its returns.

“I come here and I’m in a low mood, but then after hanging out with this crew I think, ‘I’ve made someone happy, and that makes me happy,'” she says.

“I feel lighter after a day here.”

Tegan’s not alone. Beyond Blue’s lead clinical adviser Grant Blashki says multiple studies have shown that volunteering is a great way to keep your mental health in check.

“The two main benefits of volunteering that can have a big impact on maintaining good mental health are the way it keeps people socially connected, and how it provides a real sense of purpose,” Dr Blashki says.

“In my clinic, I see people who become isolated and lose their sense of belonging in their communities, which can lead to poor mental health.”

The Federal Government’s Head to Health program also encourages people to try volunteering as a method of self-care. It lists the following potential benefits:

  • Sense of achievement and purpose
  • Feeling part of the community;
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence;
  • Better work-life balance;
  • Combats stress, loneliness and social isolation;
  • Feeling connected and valued.

Mental Health Month

Mental Health Month is celebrated each year in the month of October in NSW. This month encourages all of us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental illness or not It also gives us the opportunity to understand the importance of good mental health in our everyday lives and encourages help seeking behaviours when needed.

The Theme for Mental Health Month is Tune In

Tuning In means being present, being aware of what’s happening within you, and in the world around you.
Tune In to your senses – what can you sense right now? What can you feel?

Tune In to your communities – what’s happening that you can be part of, or that you can help others be part of?
Tune In to stigma – how do attitudes and understandings of mental health and wellbeing impact people’s ability to live the lives they want?

Taking a moment to Tune In can help still and focus your mind, it can help you understand what’s going on for you and others. Tuning in can help you find a new perspective, and it can help you reflect and be present.

Tuning In has been shown to help build self-awareness, help make effective choices, reduce the impact of worry, and build positive connections. Tuning In to communities and the impact of mental health stigma can help ensure that people who need support have safe places to talk about their experiences and reach out.
Tune In to Mental Health Month and help create a world we can all Tune In to.

Older people

Depression is common throughout the Australian population, and older people are more likely to experience contributing factors such as physical illness or personal loss.

It is thought that between 10 and 15 per cent of older people experience depression and about 10 per cent experience anxiety.1 Rates of depression among people living in residential aged-care are believed to be much higher, at around 35 per cent.

Unfortunately, many people over 65 still seem to feel there is a stigma attached to depression and anxiety, viewing them as weaknesses or character flaws rather than a genuine health condition.

Older people are also more hesitant to share their experiences of anxiety and depression with others, often ignoring symptoms over long periods of time and only seeking professional help when things reach a crisis point.

The good news is help is available, effective treatments exist for older people and with the right treatment most older people recover.

Who can assist

There are plenty of effective treatments for anxiety and depression, and the sooner you seek support, the sooner you can recover.

A range of individuals and organisations provide support for people experiencing depression and/or anxiety conditions. While some people may just need to get help from one particular type of health professional, other people may benefit from seeing various people for different aspects of their treatment.

What works?

Everyone’s different. Treatment needs to be tailored to your condition, circumstances, needs and preferences. Most people with anxiety or depression benefit from one or a combination of the following:

  • lifestyle changes and social support
  • psychological or ‘talking’ therapies
  • medical therapies

Health professionals – what’s the difference?

Different health professionals (such as GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists) offer different types of services and treatments for depression and anxiety. Below is a guide to the range of practitioners available and what kind of treatment they provide.

10 ways to take care of yourself during coronavirus

We’ve borrowed this content from ReachOut – Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents – with their permission. You can find the original article here. Check out more of their full range of practical support, tools and tips at ReachOut.com and ReachOut.com/Parents.

These strategies can help you navigate life and cope with the impact of COVID-19

The world is pretty topsy-turvy right now, because of the global panic around coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed by it all, be reassured that this is a very normal response. However, it’s important to go easy on yourself and to take time for self-care. We’ve put together this list of self-care activities that you can do from home. They’ll help you feel a little better and give you a sense of control during a very uncertain time.

1. Stay active

It’s pretty well known that exercise is really good for both our physical and mental health. There’s heaps of different types of exercise you can do from home, thanks to YouTube and apps. We’ve listed a few free ones (share your tips for others on the ReachOut Forums), or continue doing whatever works for you.

Yoga with Adriene is a well-loved yoga channel, with over six million subscribers. She’s quirky and down-to-earth and offers yoga classes lasting from five minutes through to an hour.

Nike Training Club  can help you stay active during this time by offering heaps of free workouts you can do from home. It also features wellness and nutrition guidance from experts.

Seven – 7 Minute Workout app (iOS  and  Android). These seven-minute workouts are based on scientific studies and are designed to provide the maximum benefit in the shortest amount of time. You can also link up with friends in the app to encourage each other (or, let’s be honest, compete!) – it’s a great way to stay connected. If you play sport and your games and training have been cancelled, you could consider linking up with your team on this app.

These are just three ideas, do whatever works for you.

2. Take 10 to be zen

When we’re stressed about something (such as coronavirus), our thoughts tend to speed up. Taking 10 minutes or so to practise mindfulness can help produce a sense of calmness. If you don’t get what mindfulness is all about, check out this  WTF is mindfulness meditation. other questions, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

Here are some suggestions for free mindfulness apps to try:

  • Insight Timer  has over 25,000 free guided meditations, from 1 to 90+ minutes. Try searching by a topic that interests you (e.g. stress, learning to meditate, sleep).
  • Smiling Mind  might be a good option if you don’t want to be overwhelmed by choice. The meditations are organised by structured programs, such as Mindful Foundations, Sleep, Relationships, etc.
  • If meditation isn’t for you, try doing an everyday activity in a mindful way – in other words, put aside distractions and focus fully on one small task. For example, while you’re having a cup of tea, pay attention to your senses (the smell of the tea, the warmth of the cup in your hand, the taste…).

3. Chat with your mates

Even if an in-person meet-up is off the table, try to stay in touch with your mates via text, Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime, or (gasp!) a good old-fashioned phone call. Ask them how they’re feeling and share your own experience if you feel safe to do so.

Check out this article on  5 steps to talking to someone you trust. You could even start a group chat where each person shares one good thing that happened in their day.

4. Check out forums

If you’re feeling (or literally are) isolated, jump on to the Reach Out online forums. ReachOut Forums are a safe, supportive and anonymous space where you can chat to other young people. If you’re struggling, check out the thread  Today I am having a tough time because… Or share what you’re doing for self-care in the thread Today I practiced self care by…

5. Make a homemade meal

Good nutrition is always important, but during stressful times there’s nothing better than a tasty, healthy homemade meal – especially if you made it yourself. You could ask a friend or family member for their fave recipe, or check out Taste’s easy recipes section. See this article on  how to make healthy food choices for some tips.

For many people it may be challenging to get some ingredients at the moment. If you’re running low or not able to get certain things, it’s totally fine to keep it really simple. You could also get creative with substitutions or Google ‘[ingredient] substitute’ for ideas.

6. Take a break from the news

Between the news and social media, we’re all feeling saturated by coronavirus updates right now. It’s important to stay informed, but try to limit your media intake to a couple of times a day and use  trusted news sources. If you catch yourself turning to social media because you’re feeling isolated, take a break and spend time on another activity, such as those we’ve suggested here.

7. Make a music playlist

Music can make us feel so much better. Hop on Spotify and make a playlist with your fave songs. You could make a group playlist and ask your friends to add five of their favourite songs as well. If you want to get fancy, you could make several playlists for different moods/vibes (e.g. rainy day, feeling happy, etc.).

8. Declutter for five minutes

If you’re suddenly spending a lot more time at home, it can help to have an environment that feels good to you. Instead of getting all Marie Kondo and trying to overhaul your whole space in a day, try decluttering for five mins a day. Pick a shelf to start with or pick up five things and find a home for them. For more five-minute decluttering tips,  check out this article.

9. Watch or read something uplifting

Distraction can be a good thing. Watch something that you find uplifting and allow yourself to zone out from what’s going on in the world. Some suggestions include The Good Place and Brooklyn 99 on Netflix, or The Bold Type and Family Guy on Stan.

YouTube is a great option too, plus we’ve put together  this collection of different relaxing videos that are sure to help you chill out. If reading is more your thing, go to your bookshelf and choose an old favourite or something you’ve been meaning to get to for a while, or if you don’t have physical books then e-books are a great option.

10. Learn something new

Have you wanted to get into drawing or learning a musical instrument? Now’s a great time to make a start. If you want to learn a new language,  Duolingo  is an awesome free language learning program you can access from your computer or phone. YouTube has great free online tutorials for pretty much everything.

If it’s all getting a bit much…

Sometimes things can get overwhelming, even if you’ve been practising self-care. As most people will be physically distancing or self-isolating a great option is telephone and online services. Lifeline (13 11 14) and Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) can be accessed for phone and online counselling, with Lifeline phone counsellors on call from 7pm to midnight, and Kids Helpline available 24/7.  Eheadspace  also offers free online and telephone support and counselling.

If it’s available to you, you could consider seeing your GP or mental health professional for extra help (but make sure to follow the advice of Healthdirect if you’re showing symptoms or are in self-isolation). You could also ask your mental health professional if they could chat over Skype/FaceTime if you’re in self-isolation.

You can also head to the ReachOut Forums to connect with other young people online.

We’ve borrowed this content from ReachOut – Australia’s leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents – with their permission. You can find the original article here. Check out more of their full range of practical support, tools and tips at ReachOut.com and ReachOut.com/Parents.