Mental Health Month
October is Mental Health Month
Tune in... It means being aware of what is happening within you, and in the world around you. Being present by tuning in has been shown to help build self-awareness, help make effective choices, reduce the impact of worry and build positive connections.
The University encourages you to take some time during October to tune in and also connect with those around you. You can choose from the many activities and resources available to you to support and enhance your mental health and overall wellbeing.
30 days to a happier you - Bingo Challenge: click here (PDF, 249KB) to get the details. Challenge yourself to carry out 30 activities over 30 days to improve your mental health. Connect with those around you and enhance overall wellbeing - It’s easy, fun and can make such a big difference to your mental health.
Simply register and log your rides throughout October, even as little as 10 minutes, and go in the draw to win individual prizes as well as workplace prizes for the University. We know that riding a bike has many awesome benefits - improves your fitness, can enhance your mental health and is great for the environment.
If you have always wanted to ride to work, but not sure you want to have a go on your own, get in contact with a member of our Staff Bike Buddy Team. The Team regularly rides to campus and would be more than happy to support you, you can do the full ride or join up with the group at McDonald Jones stadium for a shorter ride, you can also join them on their monthly group rides. Follow the Staff Bike Buddy Teams site for all the information and details on their next ride.
Alex Yousefi, a PhD student and experienced yoga instructor, is once again running free weekly yoga sessions online. These late-afternoon sessions are open to everyone, and are a great way to unwind (and work the kinks out, if you’ve been hunched over your desk all day). Now that you can participate from the comfort of your own office or living room, there’s no reason you can’t make yoga a regular part of your week. Sessions will take place in the Online Clubhouse, click here to join directly or click here to register.
Get 10 minutes of fresh air
When work gets busy, most of us don’t make it a priority to spend some time outside. However, stepping away from your desk can actually do wonders for your mood and ability to follow through on your to-do list. Take a look at the benefits of spending just 5, 10, and 20 minutes outside.
In five minutes, you can boost your mood and self-esteem: Sometimes, all it takes is a few minutes of fresh air to feel better. Researchers found that spending as little as five minutes doing “green exercise”, or activity in nature, was enough to boost study participants’ mood and self-esteem. That means you can meaningfully benefit by just taking a lap around your office building, or a stroll down the block for a few minutes.
In ten minutes, you'll get a dose of vitamin D: In Australia, 23% of people are estimated to have a vitamin D deficiency. The amount of sun needed to produce enough vitamin D depends on the time of year, time of day, a person’s skin type and the amount of skin exposed. However, the good news is that you can give your levels a boost in as little as 10 minutes (on a sunny day).
In twenty minutes, you'll feel less stressed: Whether you schedule a walking meeting with a colleague or plan to eat lunch outdoors, research has shown that taking just 20 minutes out of your day to sit or stroll in nature can significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
To get through the day, our body needs energy and this energy comes from food. To make sure you get the energy you need, it’s important to eat regular meals each day. You can do this the traditional way and eat three main meals or you can spread your food intake over five or six smaller meals and snacks. Either way, you’ve got to include your 5 serves of fruit and vegetables. P.S. 1 serve = about 75g.
WHY 5 A DAY?
- Fruit and veg are a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin c, potassium and folate.
- They lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- They are an excellent source of dietary fibre and contribute to a healthy diet.
To help you get the most out of your meals, we’ve pulled together some well-loved recipes.
- A delicious Middle Eastern-style Vegan Veggie Bake. Perfect to share with friends and family or take leftovers to work!
- For a mid-week cook, take a leaf out of Yotam Ottolenghi’s book and whips up his Chickpea Gigli Pasta.
- A quick and easy protein hit, Quinoa Chicken.
- Got a favourite recipe - share it with your team.
Drinking water every day
Not everyone recognises the feeling of being thirsty during the working day as we are just too busy to notice the signs. Dehydration can not only make us feel tired but it can lead to many other health complications, which is why drinking plenty of water every day is essential for good health. Drinking water has so many benefits. It not only boosts our energy levels, it also:
- Lubricates our joints.
- Produces saliva (which keeps our mouth clean).
- Delivers oxygen throughout the body.
- Enhances skin health and beauty.
- Regulates body temperature.
- Makes our digestive system work properly.
- Flushes our waste.
- Maintains blood pressure.
- Prevents kidney damage.
Learning the signs of dehydration and how much water you need is different for everyone. Looking for ways to drink more water? Here are some handy tips!
- Treat yourself to a nice, reusable water bottle and keep it close to you at work and home.
- Add a little something else to it! Slice up some lemon, lime or orange to add a bit of flavour.
- If you don’t want to drink it all the time, eat it! Fruit and veg are a great source of water, especially watermelon, zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Checking in on friends, family and colleagues
Got a feeling that someone you know or care about isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts, more agitated or withdrawn or maybe they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it. Here are some really handy resources to guide your conversations with those your care about:
- Make staying connected a new daily routine
- How to ask someone if they are ok.
- Printable card that could be used to check in on people around you if you can’t have an actual conversation
- Video explaining how people can check in with someone and be there for them
- An inspiring story of a man that sets himself a “100 coffee project” – catching up with old contacts or new friends, he learnt about being present and having meaningful conversations with people.
- Employee Assistance Program
- Beyond Blue
- Beyond Blue Support Service, staffed by professional counsellors available via phone, webchat or email Beyond Blue’s Online Forums are a safe place to engage with people who have lived through suicidal thoughts Beyond Now safety planning app – free to download for Apple and Android Advice on what to do if you’re experiencing suicidal feelings, how to support someone you are worried about, and how to have the conversation
- Everymind: QPR Suicide Prevention Training
- Black Dog Institute
EAP is a confidential counselling service free for all for UON staff and their immediate family members. The service can help you achieve lifestyle, work, personal and family goals and assist you with managing work and life experiences, issues or concerns that arise from time to time.
Lifeline provides confidential crisis support that is accessible 24 hours a day. We encourage any person in Australia who is contemplating suicide, experiencing emotional distress, or caring for someone in crisis to call (13 11 14) or text Lifeline (0477 13 11 14).
There are those days when something isn't quite right and you've got something on your mind - no matter who you are, or how you're feeling, you can talk it through with Beyond Blue and they will point you in the right direction for further support. You can take action, either for yourself or a loved one, and we’re here to help:
If you have lost a loved one to suicide, we extend our deepest sympathies. The experience following a suicide can be intense, confusing and overwhelming. There may be a wide range of feelings and thoughts that are difficult to understand and manage. Hear survivors’ powerful stories and access support and resources here.
A conversation could save a life - There is more to say after R U OK? The R U OK? mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with and support those around them. We are reminded that every day is the day to ask, “Are you OK?. Have you got a feeling that someone you know isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts, or just not themselves? Trust that guy instinct and act on it.
Everymind and the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network want to empower the community to speak openly and safely about suicide. They are offering free Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) online training to people over 18 who live or work in the Hunter New England and Central Coast regions. To access your free QPR training, click here.
- Get healthy at work: 15 Minute online health checks
- Get healthy at work: Building a strong mental health culture within your organisation Webinar (15/10/20, 2:15 pm)
Celeste Headlee's TED Talk: 10 ways to have a better conversation
- Understanding the Drama Triangle vs Presence
- Habits to be happier in 5 minutes with Nataly Kogan
- A lesson on Resilience from the Learning Lab in Singapore
- Jane McGonigal's TED Talk
About one third of our students report high levels of psychological distress and this is consistent across the tertiary education sector. As members of staff, we are in privileged positions to increase students’ mental health literacy, to teach them to develop resourcefulness and encourage them to access appropriate support in a timely manner if necessary. A toolkit has been developed and put into 9 different sections that reflect common issues that students face and therefore academic and professional staff face. Please follow this link for full details about the toolkit.
The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.