Last week, Annabeth Bateman, our Community Engagement Officer at headspace Fremantle, participated in an interview on the TV program The Couch, talking about headspace day and the headspace toolkit. Check out the interview below:
Neesha: Welcome back to ‘The Couch’ Annabeth.
Annabeth: Thank you so much for having me back. It’s lovely to be here.
Neesha: It is also lovely to have to talk about meaningful topics. And today we’re talking about mental health and particularly it was headspace day, I believe on the 9th of October.
Annabeth: Yes, it was. So, for anyone who’s not familiar, headspace is the national youth mental health foundation. We see people aged 12 to 25 to support them with their wellbeing across mental health, emotional, physical and sexual health, drug and alcohol concerns and work and study support and there’s over 110 headspace centers around the country.
Neesha: Wonderful. And so that, that’s a really widespread and really important, to provide that sustainable care. And on that topic, sustainable mental health is about being proactive, seeing mental health on a continuum. And I believe that that was one of the drivers for a new project that’s launched on the website.
Annabeth: Absolutely. So as you said, it was headspace day recently. We celebrate headspace day once a year. All the different headspace centers focus on the theme and it’s different each year. And this year is about building your mental health toolkit. So looking at what are the simple tips and changes that you can make to improve or maintain your wellbeing. Often, I think when we talk about mental health, people immediately think of mental ill health, and we think that we only need to really reflect and look at our mental health when we are struggling. So what this campaign is about is encouraging everyone to take the time to actually think about “how am I going” across seven particular key areas of my life? Are there things that I can improve on? Are there small changes I can make? And how can I make sure that those are actually part of the structure of my life and sustainable and I’m able to continue them?
Neesha: I like you saying small changes as well because I think what’s imminent is sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves when really it’s step-by-step. So you know, if you can’t run, you walk. If you can’t walk, you crawl, but you’re moving forward. And that’s the key thing.
Annabeth: Yeah, absolutely. And I think with all aspects of our health, we often do that. We say that, we’re going to get started looking at, you know, my physical health. So I’m going to run every day and I’m only going to eat this and I’m not going to have any more sugar and I’m going to get eight hours of sleep a night- and we can’t maintain that because we’re not used to all those different changes. And then we give up and we feel shame and we feel guilt. So what it is about is saying what are a few small things I could make part of my every day.
Neesha: Yes. And to celebrate as well when you do things well. So, we have a strategy we use in psych around something you start, something you stop, and something you maintain. So when we talk about these areas that you’ve got on the website here, we’ve got number one, get into life.
Annabeth: So getting into life is about looking at what you can do that makes you feel good that you enjoy doing. And that sounds so simple. And really all these tips are simple, but there’s lots of things where maybe we know we should do that or we think that we could, but maybe we don’t actually make the time for it.
Neesha: And we feel much better. I know that sometimes when I think, oh, I’d rather stay home maybe and watch a program, but you go out and you engage and have a coffee with a friend, you feel better for it, right?
Annabeth: Oh absolutely. And it’s about saying, you know, are there things that you have been putting off? I’m sure lots of us do those things where we go, I’ve always wanted to take this class or join a team or do this, but I don’t have the time, or I’m a bit unsure about how I go about it. So the really great thing about the toolkits online is that for each of these different sections, then it asks different questions around, you know, how are you going with this? What are the changes you can make? And then it helps you break it down into what could you actually do? What’s something that might get in the way? How could you overcome that so you can actually, instead of looking at it and going, I don’t even know where to start, this is too big and too scary. You can go, okay, well I could do this one little thing and see how that feels and go from there.
Neesha: That’s antastic. And I’m going to read through these quickly so that we can make sure that we can provide a few more tips if need be. There’s create connections, stay active, cut back on alcohol and other drugs, learn skills for tough times, eat well and get enough sleep. So there are areas that we can focus on quite easily. However, one at a time, perhaps, or however many at a time, if you like.
Annabeth: Yeah, and I’m sure that, you know, for some of us we might be having problems across a number of these areas or all of them. And if you look at it in terms of all of those things, it feels very overwhelming. So it’s much easier if you go, all right, well maybe I want to work on connecting with people and feeling supported and being more involved in my community and eating better and getting into exercise. But to start with, I’m just going to make a few changes to my sleep routine and make sure that I don’t play with my phone in bed before I go to bed.
Annabeth: Yeah. And just try and do that. Try that one thing. And the really cool thing about the way it is set up with the toolkits is that you can create an account so that when you answer these questions and create your own personalized action plan, you can save that and go back to it and it gives you a chance to actually reflect on how has this worked? Has it made a difference? Has it made me feel good? Because when we see those changes, when we actually notice them, that’s where we get that motivation to keep going and to build on that.
Neesha: Absolutely, you have your baseline and then you can have that big tick or reward when you’ve done it.
Annabeth: Yeah, absolutely, and that’s so important, celebrating those things!
Neesha: Brilliant. Well look, it’s a great initiative. Proactive resilience. That’s the word I was thinking of.
Annabeth: I love that way of putting it, that’s exactly what we want.
Neesha: And the other word, ‘proactive vitality management’, that’s a new one coming out.
Annabeth: PVM, very important.
Neesha: We’re on to it! So we can talk all day and we will have you back on because this is such a great topic. Thank you for all the great work and all the information you bring us from headspace.
Annabeth: Oh, always a pleasure.
Neesha: If anyone wants more information, where do they go?
Annabeth: They go to the website, headspace.org.au. We’ve got a section about the simple tips, but there’s heaps of information and resources. So if you’re not sure where to start, that’s a great place to go.
Neesha: Wonderful. We look forward to having you back on the couch soon. Thanks for joining us.
Annabeth: Thank you.
Neesha: Okay. If you’ve missed anything, of course, thecouch.com.au or our Facebook page, but it’s back to you now, Fred.
Fred: Thank you very much Neesha. Annabeth I wanted to ask you to, but just quickly, so the one about eating more, is that what you were saying?
Annabeth: I said eating well.
Fred: Oh, forget about it. Let’s move on. Eating well, eating more and sleeping. That’s a big one. A lot of people don’t realise you’ve got to get a good night’s sleep because I never do.
Annabeth: It’s so important and particularly for teenagers, they’re supposed to get up to 10 hours of sleep a night.
Watch the interview, starting at 2:30 minutes.