Colleen Morris is a counsellor and family therapist based in Geelong, Victoria. On her blog she writes about a wide range of mental health issues including relationships, families, alcohol and drug addiction and personal growth.
The toll caring for a loved one can take on a person’s physical and mental health is huge. Often, caregiver’s are thought of secondary to the people they are looking after. They will frequently pour their energy into caring for an ageing parent, an injured child, a chronically sick partner, or a family member with specific needs.
This makes self-care even more complex for caregivers, because often they feel like they are being selfish when in reality taking time for themselves is essential to their long term health. What’s more, a caregiver’s health directly affects the wellbeing of their loved one.
Love Lives On has put together this infographic detailing six ways a caregivers can practice simple self care. While these tips were designed for someone who is caring for a terminally ill family member or spouse, they are essential for all of us.
If you are a caregiver, consider this your invitation to take a breath and do something kind for yourself. Drink a glass of water, go for a walk, or ask for a break. You don’t have to do this alone.
Are you the primary care giver for a loved one? Do you struggle to find time to care for yourself? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online.
Following the events in Christchurch last week, a lot of us realised how important it is to call out racism and harassment in our communities. Yet many of us feel uneasy about stepping in and stopping a situation. We may be afraid of making a scene, of being hurt, or of being embarrassed. So how do we know when we need to step in and make a difference—and how do we do it?
It’s one thing to call out a random member of the public for abusing at a stranger, and another to tell a family member they’re out of line. Alternatively if you are the person who is being harassed or bullied for your sex, gender, religion, ability or any other factor, it takes a huge amount of courage to even ask for help—especially when the people around you seem to ignore how you are being wronged.
So what can we do to create a safer and fairer world for the people around us? We’ve chosen five infographics that explore the nature of harassment and racism in public, in the workplace and at school.
Which one best relates to your life? Perhaps you can follow the steps given to support a person being publicly abused for their religion. If you are in the workplace and are in a position of authority, you can ensure best practice is followed so everyone feels heard and supported by reporting bullying. And if you are experiencing this harassment, we hope these infographics give you the tools to ask for help and find people who will advocate for you.
If you’d like more information, just click on the title above the graphic and you will be taken to the external website that published them.
If needed print out these infographics or save them on your phone, and next time you see something that doesn’t feel quite right, take one out and follow the steps to safely and fairly stand up for the people around you. After all, we’re all in this together.
If you are ever in crisis, or are concerned for your safety or the welfare of the people around you, call the police immediately on 000 (Aus) or 911 (USA).
Do you feel unsettled and traumatised by what you’ve seen on the news? Would you like to learn strategies to stand up for yourself or ask for help? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online.
When it comes to idolising celebrities, we often have the perception that their lives are perfect. They look good, they date or have the best and most attractive spouse, they seem to have their work/life balance sorted, and they earn a decent wage. It’s only when the press reports on some scandal or accident that we see their imperfections, and realise we are one and the same.
After losing a friend to suicide, celebrity photography Glenn Marsden wanted to raise awareness about mental illness. And using the tools of his trade, he took a route few other campaigns have gone down— he chronicled the heartbreaking and true stories of celebrities with moving portraits.
Naming the campaign ‘Imperfectly Perfect’, the concept is that mental illness can affect anybody— even celebrities, and by showing this in a single image, we can dispel the stigma that we should be perfect.
Photographing celebs of all ages and backgrounds— from actress Rebecca Gibney, to international star Dominic Purcell, some of Home and Away’s brightest and best, and celeb chefs like Manu Fidel, his portraits have spread across the country. Each story is followed by a call to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you are struggling, giving people a way to ask for help if they resonate with the celebrity their reading about.
We’ve chosen some of our favourite portraits and shared them below, but you can view the original source and the Imperfectly Perfect website here. Keep an eye out for their YouTube videos, podcast and upcoming documentary too. You can also support their Go Fund Me here. It’s amazing to see the creative industry opening up about mental health, and what better way to do it than by telling the real stories of the people we see on TV everyday?
Rebecca Gibney – actress (Packed to the Rafters, Wanted)
“On the surface I had the perfect life. Great job, wonderful family and friends but inside I was dying. Daily panic attacks became hourly panic attacks and pretty soon I was making excuses to friends so I didn’t have to leave my apartment. Lucky for me a friend suggested I see a psychologist and she literally saved my life.”
Marco Allosio – rugby star, actor (Fighting Season)
“Where I come from in New Zealand, it has a really high suicidal rate but nobody likes to talk about it because they believe it makes you less of a man. But for me, it makes you more of a man when you are able to come together with your mates and brothers and talk about the issues what goes on in your head so that we can keep on looking after each other.”
Marny Kennedy – actress (Bite Club)
“I finally reached breaking point- where I realised I needed help. After six sessions with a psychologist (and also discovering a severe vitamin D deficiency- blood tests are so important), I was able to get my mental health back on track.”
Caleb Alloway – actor (Home and Away)
“For a lot of my early part of my life, I struggled with my sexuality and accepting it. I found it really hard to come to terms with, I still find it really hard to come to terms with and its about whats going on inside of your head (sic).”
Mel Greig – radio and TV personality
“1 in 10 women have the silent chronic illness that is Endometriosis. The pain and the struggle that endo women go through is incredibly difficult, often being abandoned by partners or put in the too hard basket by friends. Mental health issues amongst sufferers is high, we need you to understand our silent pain.”
Nick Hardcastle – actor (Liquid Bridge, Home and Away)
“I believe that social media is a huge contributor to young people’s depression and distorted view of themselves and their own lives and has been used as a vehicle for spreading messages of hate and bullying people, including someone I loved, to suicide.”
Do you feel lonely, stuck or depressed? Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online .
More often than not, mental health issues are accompanied by other factors that dramatically influence our lives. Family breakdown, relationship issues, grief and chronic illness can all play a role in the diagnosis of mental illness, or may appear as a result of them.
One factor that often goes hand-in-hand with mental illness is addiction and substance abuse. SANE tells us that roughly 50% of people who struggle with mental health issues also wrestle with substance abuse, often because substances seem to lessen the pain of mental illness in the moment. Yet in reality, they can actually increase them over time, even leading to psychosis.
Whether substance abuse has caused mental health issues, or is an unhealthy way of coping with them, it can turn into a dangerous cycle where our mental and physical health spirals out of control. When we are in this life-threatening situation, it is futile to only focusing on treating mental illness or substance abuse alone, because they have become so enmeshed in each other. That’s where Dual Diagnosis comes in.
Dual Diagnosis is a double-pronged approach to healing, where mental illness and substance abuse are treated at the same time. Depending on the severity of the situation, so patients may enter inpatient facilities full-time —we often hear this referred to as rehab. Where as some people will need a steady routine and support structure at home, where they can concentrate on sobriety and healing with the support of their loved ones. This is known as outpatient treatment.
Column Health has put together this great infographic detailing the variety of treatment options we have for Dual Diagnosis. Everyone’s path to healing is different, which is why it’s so important people have flexibility in how they chose to heal. Take a look at the infographic below and see what options you have.
Individual and family therapy plays an integral role in healing from mental illness and substance abuse. If you’re looking for a counsellor, Watersedge would love to support you. Just give us a call at the number below.
Column Health strives to provide the best comprehensive care in the industry. Using state of the art technology, our approach to addiction combines pharmacotherapy, individual and group psychotherapies, and community building to effectively diagnose patients and get them on track for a healthy recovery.
Do you want to know about treatment options for mental illness and substance abuse? Would you like support as you enter sobriety or heal? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online .
If we were to measure how the world has changed in the last 15 years, inevitably the rise of social media would come up as a game changer. Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and…everything else, millions of people across the globe interact on the World Wide Web everyday.
Social media has lots of positives—we’re more informed than ever before, we can keep in contact with loved ones who live far away from us, and we can access information in milliseconds. But for all its perks, we also know social media can negatively impact our lives.
Online bullying, trolls, and the misuse of information are just some of the dangers that come to mind, but another that we are becoming more aware of is the affect is has on our mental health.
This infographic by Digital Information World explores how social media has impacted our behaviour, and how it has become an even more accurate measure of our mental health than our loved ones. While it comes from 2015 and the statistics have altered since this point, it bears a reminder that simply liking something is about lot more than just pixels on the screen.
From addiction to the internet, to the rise of cyber bullying, this infographic seems all the more relevant in 2019, where it is becoming increasingly more difficult to have civil conversations with the people in our community—let alone online.
Take a look and ask yourself—how is my social media use affecting my life? If you sense it negatively affecting your emotions or relationships, consider how you can change your habits. Maybe limiting your time online is the key, quitting a platform, or blocking some particularly toxic profiles will help?
Is social media harming your mental health? Would you like support to manage your relationships in real life and online? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online .
We have all felt overwhelmed at one point or another, but for people experiencing trauma this sense of being overwhelmed or over-stimulated can be debilitating. Because trauma impacts the part of our brain called the Amygdala which causes people to function readily in their fight or flight response, everyday occurrences that would cause minor discomfort to other people can trigger extreme reactions in many going through trauma.
This infographic by The
National Institute for the Clinical Application Behavioural Medicine
describes our ability to cope with different stimulants and circumstances as a
‘window of tolerance’. Everyone has a different sized window of tolerance and
this can change due to stress and trauma, which is why people who go through
trauma may be triggered by sounds or events they were previously nonchalant
too. You may have also seen people experiencing intense anger, grief or anxiety
also respond in this seeming irrational way. Yet for their brain, this is
perfectly rationale and how they survive.
When we are overstimulated, we enter
dysregulation. This is like the pathway to a major emotional episode. Some
people may refer to it as a “freak out,” others may lash out emotionally, or
dissociate. This can go one of two ways— we feel like we are shutting down and
are unable to function, or we are so agitated we begin to lose control of
Take a look at the infographic below and
see if you recognise any of these pathways in yourself. Working through trauma,
anger, grief or anxiety is complex, but by partnering with a therapist you can
widen your window of tolerance and begin to heal.
Have you been traumatised? Do you ever shut
down, or feel out of control? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen
on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10
minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online .
There seems to be one common division in the world: whether or not you are a ‘cat person’. But after we blogged about the amazing mental health benefits of dogs, it only seemed fair we address the other half of the room.
It makes sense, given that cats are calm animals, able to meditate and dwell in solitude before communicating their needs. Perhaps we could also learn something about the value of taking life slower from our cat friends.
So next time you feel stressed, take a moment to sit with a cat on your lap (if they’ll let you, of course), or look into adoption or part-time fostering. If adopting a cat is out of the question or allergies are a problem, there is good news! Scientists have found that even watching cat videos on the Internet is beneficial for overall mental health. So what are you waiting for? Go and find a cute cat video and your serotonin levels will sky rocket.
Cats. We don’t deserve them —and they won’t let us forget it.
Do you want to keep good mental health? Would you like to learn about day-to-day strategies you can use to soothe yourself?Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online now.
A good book can transport us to another time and place. And when it comes to books about mental health, they can radically change how we perceive our own struggles. Over the past few years, we’ve seen lots of mental health related memoirs, self-help guides and novels hit the shelves. We’ve collated some of our favourites, as well as some books recommended to us by friends and experts, to list ten books about mental health you need to read—or listen to. In fact, you can even watch some in movie form. Whatever medium you prefer, take a look through this list and see what story resonates with you.
The Power of Vulnerability (audio book) by Brene Brown
This six hour audio book is made up of social researcher Brene’s Brown’s talks about shame, vulnerability and being authentic. Brene is engaging and relatable, and communicates her research with a mix of fact, illustration and personal stories. If you prefer to read a book, ‘Daring Greatly’ and ‘Into the Wilderness’ are also fantastic.
These days Aussie’s know Osher as the host of The Bachelor, fewer know he is a mental health advocate and Board Director of SANE Australia. In his new memoir, he gives us a raw and poignant account of his childhood experience of anxiety, all the way to when he “lost his mind” in his thirties. This is riveting because it recounts the underbelly of his time in the media industry, showing how substances altered his life, and thas him speak candidly about divorce.
Young adult author John Green is known for his tear-jerker novels, but Turtles All the Way Down is his first novel purposely addressing mental illness. The story revolves around 16 year-old Aza who has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. When she learns about the mysterious death of a local billionaire, she begins an investigation into the events and meets some intriguing people along the way.
Flags: Traumatic events, mild language, sexual references
If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For by Jamie Tworkowski
This memoir by the founder of charity To Write Love On Her Arms is moving, poetic and beautifully written. Full of blogs, essays, letters and emails, it chronicles the emergence of the famous non-profit, as well as Tworkowski’s own journey through mental illness, heartbreak and adulthood.
Am I There Yet? The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood By Mari Andrew
Illustrator Mari Andrew is famous on Instagram for her realistic, yet whimsical, portrayals of adutlthood. In this illustrated memoir, she candidly explores what it means to forge your own path in a world filled with detours—from heartbreak, to travel, moving away and mental health.
Perks is iconic in young adult fiction for its timely story about the social misfit Charlie and how he finds his place in the world. It discusses identity, sexuality, drug use and mental health; using Charlie’s narration to give insight into the development of a teenager who is learning to love themselves.
Flags: Mild language, sexual references, substance abuse
Author Matt Haig provides us with one of the most famous memoirs about depression with his book Reasons To Stay Alive. Divided by significant moments in his diagnosis and recovery, his candour is heart breaking and relatable. A contemporary, highly acclaimed read that is poetic and cleverly simple.
Flags: Mild language, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, sexual references
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety by Sarah Wilson
This memoir is a different take in the mental health genre, due to it collaboration between narrative and research. Entrepreneur Sarah Wilson describes the day-to-day life of many people who live with an anxiety disorder, using research, studies around treatments, interviews with fellow sufferers and her personal experience. It is an empowering and fulfilling take on what it means to live with mental illness.
This best seller was featured on Oprah’s Book Club and is a powerful story about marriage and infidelity, faith and feminism. Nothing is taboo with Glennon, and she openly discusses the good and bad of marriage and betrayal, sex, porn, faith and food.
Furiously Happy: A funny book about horrible things by Jenny Lawson
This collection of essays and blogs is about author Jenny Lawson’s everyday battle with depression, anxiety, self harm, trichotillomania, dermatillomania and avoidant personality disorder. Jenny is cheeky and candid, talking about her ‘happiness coach’ and trying to find words to describe a day where depression is heavy and all consuming. This extensive review by The Guardian gives great insight to the hilarious and moving book.
Do you have a book recommendation we haven’t included? We’d love to hear about it—especially any books written on mental health by people of colour and the LGBTQIA+ community. Let us know your favourites in the comments!
Do you struggle with anxiety, depression or a poor mental health? Are you supporting a loved one who has mental health issues? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online now.
When my friends are struggling, I immediately want to help them. Whether they are experiencing depression, are going through a break up, or are just having a bad day, I want to make it go away. I am used to solving problems, so my immediate tendency is to tell my friends how to get ‘better’ or to offer a solution. What I’ve learnt though, is that often the best way I can help a friend, is just by being their friend.
We live in a world where we like to go from A to B. Processes are in a straight line, and ideally things can get fixed in a snap. But we all know people don’t work like this. Each of us is a culmination of our hopes, dreams, experiences and hurts. We are all unique and carry a different story inside of us. Because of this, we can never ‘fix’ one another when we are struggling. But as a friend, we can help a person we love take the first steps on the path to recovery.
Because we so often see the depth of the brokenness in our friends, we can get overwhelmed by the help they need. It is difficult to know how to help, let alone where to point them or what to say! It doesn’t have to be hard though, because you don’t need the answers to their problems. We don’t even need the ‘right’ words to make them feel better. When a friend is hurting, we just need to be present with them in that moment.
Just Be With Them
Having a friend sit beside you as you cry makes the moment lighter. Instead of carrying the pain alone, you share it with someone else. When a friend is struggling, their immediate need is to be heard and understood. So hear what they have to say, hold them and tell them they are valuable. You won’t fix their problem, but you will show they are not alone in it, and that counts just as much.
Offer Them Help
Healing is a lifelong process, and showing someone they are worthy of this is fundamental in recovery. Encourage your friend to speak to a mentor, someone they trust or their doctor about how they are feeling. Counsellors provide us with a safe place to work through our pain, so find a nearby professional and take your friend to the appointment.
What to do in a crisis
If your friend is in danger, is harming themselves, thinking about suicide or could potentially harm someone else, call 000 or 911 immediately. If your friend is showing signs of self harm or is suicidal, give them the number to Lifeline on 13 11 14. Tell them they can call this number at any moment, day or night. A professional is on the other end of the line, and they are able to walk them through the moment.
Celebrate every victory
As your friend begins to heal and takes small steps towards recovery, you can be their cheerleader. Celebrate their first counselling appointment, the fact they you they are struggling, a day clean of self harm, or the courage to wake up in the morning. Remind them that the small things count.
Walk the journey with them
Be committed to walking through this journey with your friend. It’s not 24/7, and it doesn’t even mean you completely understand what’s going on—it is simply about doing life with them. Hang out, call or text them, see a movie, or go for a walk. If they don’t want to talk about their feelings, that’s okay. Just sit with them. Let them know you are not going anywhere.
We cannot fix our friends and take away their pain, but we can support them. Encourage them to seek professional help, and stick by them as they enter life in healing and wholeness. Being a friend doesn’t mean you have the answers, it just means you are there. And by being there, you show your friend they matter, not just on World Mental Health Day, but every day of the year.
Do you feel down, lonely or anxious? Are you supporting a loved one’s mental health and need time to take care of yourself? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online now.
Mental health issues are very common in seniors as they transition to retirement, some living in Alzheimer's assisted living facilities or other senior housing centers. Just as with any major life transition, people are prone to mental health issues, and they can be very debilitating if they aren’t treated correctly. This makes suicide a risk for many older people as well, particularly men over 85.
Like other age groups, many older people feel stigma around seeking help for mental health issues. Beyond Blue tells us that they often see it as a ‘character flaw’ rather than a serious illness. However, by opening up and starting conversations around mental health, this can change.
With proper treatment, mental health issues are manageable and even curable in some cases. Here are some of the most common mental illnesses older people experiences, how to spot them, and what the best treatments are.
Many seniors experience depression as they transition into retirement. In Australia, it is estimated that between 10 and 15 percent of older people will experience depression during this transitional time of life. This figure increases up to 35 per cent for many people who live in aged care homes.
Without the routine of a job and vibrant family life, it can be easy to fall into this condition. It’s a particular challenge for seniors who transition into assisted living, because the change of scenery and pace can be overwhelming at first. It also can be triggered by major life changes such as a chronic illness or injury, financial struggles, or the loss of a partner.
Signs to watch out for with depression include changes in sleeping and eating patterns, a loss of enjoyment in favourite activities and socialisation, extended negative moods and sadness, and a loss of education.
Treatments for depression include talk therapy and medication. Daily exercise, joining a community group or changing your diet are also beneficial and can dramatically lift someone’s mood. If you believe you or a loved one may be experiencing depression, see your doctor as they will provide you with a variety of services or suggestions about how to manage this.
Anxiety is another extremely common mental health condition, and up to 10 per cent of older Australians experience it. Signs of anxiety include persistent worrying or fear, muscle tension, difficulty sleeping and/or chronic fatigue, and panic attacks. There are many subsets of anxiety disorders, including phobias, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In addition, various factors that can put someone at a higher risk for anxiety, including certain physical health conditions, misuse of alcohol or prescription drugs, the death of a partner or family member, or exposure to a traumatic event.
Like depression, anxiety it can be treated with talk therapy and medication. In fact, depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand, and many people experience both at different points in their lives. Reducing the natural stress that seniors experience can also prevent anxiety. Many assisted living facilities are becoming more flexible with stress reduction options. For example, there are now many dementia homes that allow pets. After the loss of a partner, many people may also find adopying a pet eases their anxiety, and naturally creates a more active lifestyle.
Another common mental illness than many seniors are starting to develop is eating disorders. Eating disorders can take many forms, including anorexia, bulimia, or orthorexia. Many seniors develop eating disorders later in life because they naturally develop changes in their senses of taste and smell, which make them less motivated to eat. Many medications can also change their appetites. If an older person is struggling with other physical or mental health issues, they are also going to be more prone to an eating disorder.
Eating disorders in the elderly can be hard to catch, but some of the signs include weight fluctuations, dizziness, refusal to eat, use of laxatives or vomiting, and an increase in injuries or falls. If a senior has an eating disorder, it is typically treated with therapy sessions as well as nutritional counselling. A change of scenery also may be helpful for someone with an eating disorder.
If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms of mental illness, don’t hesitate to seek treatment as soon as possible. Although mental health issues are common in seniors, they can be treated effectively and quickly to help treat symptoms as well as addressing the underlying psychological problems. Talk to your doctor for counselling and advice regarding mental illness, as well as any other senior living help you may need.
Do you want to stay healthy as you grow older? Are you concerned about the wellbeing of a loved one as they age? Here’s what you need to do: Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245, Duncan on 0434 331 243 or Rachel on 0422 177 193 for a FREE 10 minute consultation on how we can best help you or book online now.
Holly Klamer loves to write on issues related to seniors, aging and retirement. Holly is a frequent contributor on Senior Guidance and Senior Living Help that help provide comprehensive resources on various senior living options.