Balancing act health
A CURTIN University doctor says it is vital people take time out from their busy work life to take care of themselves.
Ben Milbourn, senior lecturer at Curtin’s school of occupational therapy, social work and speech pathology, said it was imperative people found a balance between hard work and taking care of their mental health.
“The world we live in today is exceptionally fastpaced and we’re expected to be present and available all the time, but it is about trying to compartmentalise some time,” he said last Tuesday during Mental Health Week.
“Give yourself some time at lunch time, take a walk out of the office for five minutes, grab a coffee rather than making the coffee in the work kitchen.
“Sometimes it’s about taking that step back and reflecting on what are the drivers and within that, in recognising if you’re having a low mood or you’re not in a good space, what can you do to boost it.”
Despite increased awareness and decreased stigma about mental health in the workplace, Dr Milbourn believed people still felt uneasy talking about it with employers.
“I think people are still not sure about what is the right thing to do,” he said.
“We should be openly talking about mental health, but ultimately people ask ‘how is that going to affect me if I disclose to my employer?’.”
Dr Milbourn said while people were getting better at managing their own mental health, he thought communication with people experiencing mental health issues could be improved.
“R U OK Day is fantastic, but what next; if someone says ‘I’m not OK’, how do you support someone to be able to do that?” he said.
“Sit down with them, talk about what’s happening to them, acknowledge the experience and not dismissing it, not putting your own take on it or judgement. It’s quite easy to judge people from our own perspective.”
Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifelinewa.org.au for 24-7 crisis support. Young people seeking support can also call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or visit kidshelpline.com.au.