10 October, 2017 - Butterfly Foundation CEO Christine Morgan shares a few messages on World Mental Health Day.
What does World Mental Health Day mean to you?
World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on the importance of nurturing our own mental health and well-being. It is recognising that we are so much more than just our physical bodies – that we have mental health and emotional needs as well as physical ones. In a world where stress and ‘being stretched’ are all too common we owe it to ourselves to put a focus on what we can do to build mental resilience. It is also an opportunity to speak about mental health and well-being and to reinforce the message that just as we seek professional help for our physical needs, so we should also reach out to professionals, family, and friends for help and support when we have mental health challenges. Mental health is an integral part of our humanness.
The theme this year is about shedding light on mental health. Is there anything in particular you would like to shed light on?
In our world where so much attention is placed on physical appearance, I believe it is critical for us to better understand and address the mental health challenges this focus can impose on all of us. If we think that our body shape or size is not ‘right’ for us to succeed then we too often try and change it – often through risky diet or exercise behaviours. For those with the genetic vulnerability for an eating disorder, such behaviour can be the trigger for illness. Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses and once triggered require treatment and support.
Therefore, I would like to shed light on the importance of valuing ourselves and others not for what we look like but for who we are – appreciating our worth as unique, diverse individuals. The light needs to be shone on the risks to our mental well-being of judging ourselves on physical attributes.
What would you encourage everyone to do on this day?
I encourage everyone to celebrate their unique role on this planet – to recognise that we are complex beings with mental, physical and emotional needs and to respect those needs. On World Mental Health Day let’s commit to making our mental well-being a daily priority. Then, let’s turn to our friends, our family members, our colleagues and our neighbours and tell them how we value them – the unique contribution they make to our lives and those around them. Let’s shine the light on the importance to our mental well-being of being valued for who we are not our looks.
If in doing so we uncover in ourselves or others the need for help and support – let’s be active in seeking such help – without stigma or shame. Let’s respect and address our mental health needs as part of caring for ourselves and others.
Today is not just about supporting others, but supporting ourselves. Tell us 3 small things we can do today and going forward to look after numero uno.
- Understand that I am a complex human being and that my mental health needs are important and an integral part of who I am.
- Affirm that my role on this earth is about who I am not what I look like.
- Remember that my body has been given to me to live my life, not to define my life – and that it encompasses my mind and emotions as well as my physical being.
Want to get involved in World Mental Health Day and National Mental Health Week?
- Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to join in the conversation
- Share your experience with our online community here
- Visit 1010.org.au and upload your mental health promise
If you, or anyone you know, is experiencing an eating disorder or body image concern you can call Butterfly’s National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For urgent support call Lifeline 13 11 14
Media Contact: Danielle Cuthbert email@example.com