Bal­anc­ing act health

Canning Times - - FRONT PAGE - Ben Smith

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.

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