The story behind our mental health
I’d like to be honest with you – bluntly so.
This blog stems from an invitation to support World Mental Health Day 2021, a day prioritising the topic of mental health which also acts as a stark reminder not to ignore mental health for the other 364 days of the year.
I’m a father, a teacher, an educational consultant, a professional athlete and a public speaker. I’m the victim of self-doubt. Ego. Ignorance. And indifference.
But I’m also the beneficiary of a mentor. Of real friendships, education and exposure. Constant exposure.
I believe our mental health is directly influenced by our ability to communicate and build quality relationships. Consistent and effective communication is vital for positive mental health on both an external and internal level. Quality non-transactional relationships provide the foundation from which individuals can develop and prosper through connection (and appreciation).
The same is true of groups of people:
Classrooms. Office spaces. Worksites. Lecture theatres. Studios. Clubrooms
All function at a higher level when the value of relationships is properly communicated, valued and constantly refined with care and creativity.
Unfortunately, the reality is that mental health isn’t seen as being that important- that is, until it directly affects you. I was affected at a young age which culminated in me cutting my right arm in half as a 17-year-old; the direct result of poor self-esteem, choices and a shopfront window. My appreciation of the importance of my mind and it’s thinking forever changed as a result.
During my AFL football and teaching careers I was exposed to countless examples of positive and negative mental health on a daily basis.
As a father, I’ve watched my own children struggle with adult-driven anxieties. And as a professional speaker I’ve worked with people who get it and those that don’t (until it’s too late) in both educational and corporate settings.
The effects of positive and negative mental health are clear to me.
Because of this lived experience, I have chosen to make nurturing positive mental health my personal & professional business. From creatively sharing stories, asking thoughtful questions and listening carefully to what is and isn’t said, business has been booming.
Particularly the business of being a father, a friend and being kind to yourself.
World Mental Health Day acts as a perfect opportunity to engage in thoughtful conversation with those around you, share stories and appreciate how they’ve shaped our lives.