Quickly proving to be one of the most read blogs in the Insider’s Guide blog space for students this year, UCSA Equity and Wellbeing Representative Sam Brosnahan’s personal reflections on mental health clearly struck a chord . We share it here with staff as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.
– How are ya?
– Yeah good, yourself?
– Yeah good thanks [proceed with conversation].
I’m a bit like you. After stopping to think for a sec how often I rattle off this same conversation with people I bump into everyday, the answer was yep, often.
The question is: how are you really doing? It was the spring of 2015 and the world wasn’t such a bright place for me – I had just come out of a physical injury, a close cousin had just passed away suddenly – and before long all I could feel was my world imploding inside.
As dark clouds seemed to swirl around me for weeks on end, all I maintained was this shell of outward composure, but all I could feel inside was that everything I had worked for, believed in, hoped and dreamed for were all slipping away.
I knew something was up, that something didn’t feel right. Was this just a situation not worth dragging others into? It got to the point where I had to call on an older couple, that were family friends that I love and trusted, for help. Understanding there was hope and it was okay to feel like that was the best advice they ever gave me.
Sometimes when it comes to a concept like mental health, mental disorder or mental wellbeing, we can tend to put it in an ‘others’ category, which doesn’t really apply to me. The reality is we all have a mind, a state of mental being and a level of how ‘well’ this state of mentality is.
It’s the old classic – we place huge importance on our physical health or physique and we’ll like, post and spend time training, and at the same time if we get injured we’d most likely see a specialist, take time out and let mates know about it.
I won’t slam you with the stats, we all know mental health related issues are on the rise in Aotearoa New Zealand – many of us know someone that’s been affected by anxiety, depression or suicide, let alone us directly.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week this week and you’ll see posters around uni sharing a little love around the place. UCSA are putting on a programme of events to help celebrate the week and help encourage you to look out for you and your friends and whānau.
Share your struggle with mates, be a good listener, take a break, eat well, get outdoors, climb a tree, row a boat or ring your gran. Look after yourself – you matter more than you could ever know.
UCSA Equity & Wellbeing Rep
Need support now?
- If you are concerned about yourself or someone, such as a colleague or student, ask about how they are doing and listen – you don’t need to be an expert.
- If you are still concerned, suggest they contact a professional service such as their family doctor. The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Mauri tū, Mauri ora has excellent advice at mentalhealth.org.nz. Look for the ‘in crisis’ button.
- Students can attend the UC Health Centre or Student Care. If you refer a student do check-in with them soon afterwards to see how they got on. These sorts of actions show you care, help remove the stigma around mental health and encourage others to get the help they need.