Mental Health: Join The Conversation

mental illness depression anxiety

mental illness depression anxiety

In Australia 1 in 5 people experience a mental illness. That means there is a high chance that you or someone you know has seen the effects mental illness can have on a person and their family.

In 2012, through the Mental Health Report Card, consumers expressed a desire to have a voice about the services they use. As a result, the Australian Government National Mental Health Commission created an initiative called Contributing Life Conversations. Through this initiative people are encouraged to have conversations with family and friends about what gives their life meaning.

The Commission has posed four questions to help get the conversation started. From the 22nd of July through to the 11th of August 2013 The Commission wants you to meet with friends, family and coworkers to gather answers to these questions. Through these answers, it is hoped that the way mental health services in Australia will provide a much more user friendly approach.

The conversations can be held at work, in a park or online. Tamsin has opened her space so that we can have our conversation right here. I hope you’ll join us.

Question 1: What’s important to you in having a meaningful life?

For me, a meaningful life is all about balance and accepting that nothing is going to be perfect. A meaningful life is about the little things, feeling like my opinion is valid and having my voice heard. If at the end of a day I can say that I have done the best that I can, I am happy.

Question 2: What helps you to have a meaningful life?

Surrounding myself with people who love me. Counting the little things because a lot of little things add up to one big thing. Accepting that some days I can’t do everything that I want to.

Question 3: What gets in the way?

Allowing people into my life who don’t support me. Allowing my thoughts to consume me and living a stagnant life.

Question 4: What would make the biggest difference to your life?

  • Spending time with friends
  • Making sure to leave the house at least once a day
  • Eating and sleeping well

What are your answers?

Every person matters, every conversation has meaning. If you would like to host your own conversation then head to the National Mental Health Commission website and register your details.

Image by Kent Marcus Photography

  • Tamsin Howse

    1. A meaningful life to me is one that contributes in some way to society for good, one that cares about others, and one with a strong sense of family and friends.

    2. My job helps me live a meaningful life because I’m contributing to society. My friends and my husband help by lifting me up. A clean house helps me, because of the clear state of mind it brings.

    3. Mess!! I know that sounds silly but when there’s mess in my house or in my office it’s a sign that things have gotten out of control, and things are too busy and hectic. I need home time, I need to unwind and power down. I get anxious if I’m too busy.

    4. More quality time with people. I’ve been working hard to make this a reality, and unfortunately it seems to be at the detriment of my online friendships, which makes me sad, so I want to bring more from online offline. That and have a magical cleaning fairy 😉

  • Maryann

    1. A meaningful life – contributing to society; being there for others.
    2. Living a meaningful like – my job, like T’s contributes to society; living life true to my beliefs and values.
    3. My internal voice and external clutter. I work to conquer both.
    4. Less time around people – I am an introvert

  • John James

    1. The thing that gives me the most meaning in my life is creative expression – writing, music, nude-free-form-public-jazz-ballet… anything really, so long as I’m expressing myself creatively.

    2. Freedom helps me to achieve meaning in my life – having free time to pursue my creative pursuits – freedom from judgement – freedom of expression.

    3. The realities of modern life get in the way of my freedom – having to work for a living in a job that doesn’t really stimulate my soul… shopping, cooking, cleaning… anything that gets in the way of my free time.

    4. Financial independence and more free time to be creative. The good thing is, I’m only a few years away from that goal… patience JJ, patience…

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  • Ribbons

    My answers to 1 and 2 are pretty standard. 3 – my internal voice and my health and my lack of finances defeats me sometimes. The people in my life are great, I have abilities etc Money can’t buy meaning but I can’t properly engage with bringing meaning to my life if I am worried about affording food all the time.

    4. Money and good health, which go hand in hand – be well, be able to work more, thus earn more money, less worry on meeting the basics of life. I don’t want to be rich, just be able to get by a bit better and get on with adding more meaning to my life.

    I see hope, I know what meaning is to me, what helps and I’m working on the things I can change. I’ve added lots of meaning in the last year in ways that were free or modest and that project continues but I’m starting to hit a financial ceiling now. The meaning I need most now is less worry!

    Great simple effective questions.

  • Maree Talidu

    LOVE! Thank you for shedding some light on practical ways to address mental illness. I’m so sick of the stigma that’s often associated, and the fact that (in turn) many people suffer silently as they are afraid to admit they’re suffering or see it as a sign of weakness.

  • Maree Talidu

    p.s my answers!

    1. To me a meaningful life involves doing my job well, helping others, being surrounded by people I love and being there for others. To be true to myself.

    2. Going the extra mile for my loved ones and my students. I could never be happy in a job where I wasn’t working with helping people.

    3. Negative thought processes, physical illness, feeling like a failure, being doubted, and self doubt, clutter, financial obstacles.

    4. Better physical health, financial stability, my own space.