Recharging your mental health and wellbeing

  • 00:00:00Good morning, everyone, and on behalf of Beyond Blue I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to today's webinar.
  • 00:00:07Which is all about staying well in 2021 and recharging your well being and I don't think there could be a more important topic than that just at the moment.
  • 00:00:17My name is Patrice O'Brien and I have the absolute privilege of being Beyond Blue's Chief Community Officer.
  • 00:00:23And, on behalf of all of us at Beyond Blue, we are just really delighted to have you joining us all today, and thank you so much for coming in joining the webinar we've got people joining us from all over our beautiful country.
  • 00:00:37I would like to start today by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which all of us join from today. I'm joining you from the land of the Wiradjuri people.
  • 00:00:48of the Kulin Nation, and I would like to pay my respects to elder's past, present and emerging.
  • 00:00:55I would like to extend those respects to the traditional owners of the land on which all of you, joining us from today and i'd also like to extend those respects to any aboriginal Torres strait islander people joining us on the webinar today.
  • 00:01:10I would also like to acknowledge all of those who are living with or supporting others around them with mental health conditions.
  • 00:01:18And I would also like to acknowledge those whose lives have been tragically impacted by suicide.
  • 00:01:23Beyond BLue belongs to you, first and foremost, your perspectives are essential to defining and guiding our work and your experiences continue to inspire us and drive us to do better every single day.
  • 00:01:43today's session is really going to be focusing on.
  • 00:01:48The well being side of the mental health continuum will talk to you about the continuum in a moment.
  • 00:01:53So today's session is going to have a real focus on positivity, which is, I think, something that we all need at the moment.
  • 00:02:00But regardless, we are going to be talking about mental health, and that is a topic that can be really difficult for people from time to time, so if today's session does bring up any issues for you.
  • 00:02:13Then please use the support networks around you, whether that be your family or friends or other support networks or also any of the professional support networks that are available on the screen and we're also sharing information about these with you in the chat today.
  • 00:02:32So today's session, as I said, is going to be all about you and your well being and whilst over this past 18 months we've all been impacted differently depending on where we live and what industry we work in.
  • 00:02:47One thing that's been consistent for all of us is that we have all been through an unprecedented and a really challenging time that's had a real impact on many people's mental health.
  • 00:03:01So, with that in mind today's session we're really going to be focusing on how can we really recharge our well being and prepare ourselves to go through this next stage of transitioning.
  • 00:03:13Through the next phase of the pandemic and i'm going to really help to bring these topics to life today by being joined by a wonderful panel.
  • 00:03:23So i'll do a full introduction shortly, but just for now I would like to really welcome Dr Karina Jorritsma,
  • 00:03:31David Knoff and also the wonderful Beyond Blue speaker Monica Das and I'll fully introduce you to all of them.
  • 00:03:40Shortly I'm also really delighted to welcome all of you here today, our audience, it has been an absolutely huge 18 months for Beyond Blue.
  • 00:03:53And those of you who are joining us today have in some way or another, supported our work over the past 18 months we've got people here from our partners.
  • 00:04:03from major donors from supporters and other key stakeholders who we've worked with and who have supported our work.
  • 00:04:09We are so grateful to all of you, we literally could not do what we do without your support, so I want to say a very big thank you to each and every one of you.
  • 00:04:19For the role you're playing in helping us to achieve our vision that everyone in Australia can achieve their best possible mental health.
  • 00:04:27So for the next few minutes, I want to just focus on giving you a very high level overview of some information about our collective experiences.
  • 00:04:38Of well being and mental health over the past 18 months we'll talk very briefly about well being at work, but we can get into that a little bit more in the panel.
  • 00:04:47And i'm going to spend a little bit more time on individual well being and some of the things that we all need to focus on individually and, as I said then we'll jump into the panel, which is where the fun will really start.
  • 00:04:59So I mentioned earlier, the continuum and i'm just going to speak about this very quickly and the main thing that I want to say.
  • 00:05:06Is that often when we talk about mental health people actually talking about mental ill health.
  • 00:05:12But when we think about mental health, we really want to think about it on a continuum and think about a whole holistic health in a similar way to what we think about physical health.
  • 00:05:22And all of us can move up and down the mental health continuum depending on what's going on in our lives around us, and how are in health and well being is.
  • 00:05:31Obviously at the green end we're thriving and doing really well and then, as we move towards the end of the continuum it's a sign that we're becoming unwell.
  • 00:05:41I think it's fair to say that, through the pandemic this been a little bit more movement up and down the continuum today we're really going to focus on that green end of the continuum and focus on how we can put things in place to really try and help ourselves to thrive.
  • 00:05:58The pandemic has really represented unique challenges to mental health, often when a disaster occurs, and I might just get Linda to jump to the next slide there we go.
  • 00:06:11Often, when a disaster occurs it really impacts on a very specific group of people, whether that's sort of a a geographic group of people, or people who have got specific vulnerabilities.
  • 00:06:23But the pandemics being really different in that it's really impacted on everyone I think there's very few people around the globe who haven't been impacted in some way.
  • 00:06:34And I really love the analogy on this slide we've all been the same storm but we've definitely traveled through it in very different boats.
  • 00:06:43And our experience of what going through the pandemic is like has been really different for everyone, and one of my big lessons in the very early days, the pandemic was that it was impossible to generalize everyone's unique.
  • 00:06:57set of circumstances were so different and our journeys was so different.
  • 00:07:03And there's been some real surprises over this period of time as well, so one of the things that Byond Blue heard about in the early days of the pandemic was that.
  • 00:07:12Suddenly, people who had pre existing mental health conditions were sometimes more prepared than than their peers or their colleagues, because for some of these people that have been focusing for months or even years,
  • 00:07:26On looking after their mental health and on what strategies that I could apply to do so, and then suddenly.
  • 00:07:35When the pandemic hit though able to apply those skills and found themselves being mentors and support to others, so that was a That was really something fantastic that we saw that happened.
  • 00:07:47The industry that people worked in suddenly had a huge bearing on how they cope through the pandemic and.
  • 00:07:52We saw people who had never had to rely on government support before have to rely on it for the first time I really difficult adjustment.
  • 00:08:01We saw a whole set of new frontline workers suddenly our supermarket workers now delivery drivers became part of the front line keeping us all, safe and well and I really hope that we never take these important jobs for granted again.
  • 00:08:15and your social situation, whether you lived alone, whether you're dealing with homeschooling whether you're in a house where it was really hard to be a lot more time than usual, and for people in Melbourne.
  • 00:08:27who lived within your five kilometer radius something i've never thought about before but it became such a huge part of how we have experienced this time.
  • 00:08:38But, for whatever boat, it is that you have traveled this journey, we know that there's some challenges that have been really very consistent for many of us.
  • 00:08:48And at Beyond Blue we've heard a lot about these challenges, so in workplaces, we know that there's been ongoing uncertainty and rapid change.
  • 00:08:59we've had to get our heads around changing safety measures changing ways of operating foreclosures office shut shut down this change has been constant.
  • 00:09:09there's been the challenges of the remote working and the associated loneliness and isolation and.
  • 00:09:15That feeling at the end of a meeting when the screen goes blank and there's no one to say hey do you think that when okay, and the overthinking what comes with that.
  • 00:09:23there's the digital intensity and the absolutely exhausting Zoom fatigue that many of us have experienced.
  • 00:09:29And then there's the financial the economic, the planning uncertainty for workplaces, which in turn creates uncertainty for all of us as employees.
  • 00:09:39And at an individual level there's the difficulty switching off the difficulty focusing the constant adjustment to different sets of circumstances and the sheer exhaustion and running out of resilience of our buckets no longer being full.
  • 00:09:56At Beyond Blue we've seen a huge impact in the US for services average monthly demand has increased 30% during the pandemic and in some months the increases being far higher than that.
  • 00:10:08Since March last year over 500,000 people have contacted us via our support services and over 10 million via our websites.
  • 00:10:17Despite all of these challenges we've also seen some amazing strengths and opportunities, people are talking about mental health them more than we've ever seen about the same before.
  • 00:10:28Suddenly during the pandemic mental health truly became everyone's business and we saw same conversations happen about mental health in places that they just haven't happened before.
  • 00:10:38And it Beyond Blue, we really hope that this will have a lasting impact on empathy compassion and a reduction in stigma and discrimination.
  • 00:10:47An ABS survey for mid this year I found that since early last year 72% of Australians have taken steps to help them into her to help them into health and well being.
  • 00:10:58Suddenly, this helps aching behavior has become far more normalized than ever before we've heard about open conversations in workplaces about seeking support and encouraging others to do the same it's really encouraging.
  • 00:11:12we're saying health services evolve early in the pandemic we move to online health services more rapidly than I think we ever could have achieved without a good crisis to get us moving.
  • 00:11:23And the benefits have gone beyond mental health as well we're saying workplaces make incredible adoptions and I really hope that the enhanced flexibility that we've seen.
  • 00:11:33will continue to be a part of workplaces into the future we've seen incredible examples of kindness compassion and people coming together bit virtually or or in real life, to support one another.
  • 00:11:47And I think that as individuals as families as workplaces as communities and, as a country, we do have a chance to come out of this better and stronger and, for me, focusing on these opportunities is actually a really important part of my own well being plan.
  • 00:12:04So i'm just going to talk to you really briefly about what a mentally healthy workplace is.
  • 00:12:09We know that being mentally healthy at work is really important to people at the moment, particularly with the fatigue and we're getting lots of questions about what the key to this is.
  • 00:12:18So, to start with today i'm going to keep it really simple to me being mentally healthy at work is not something that's sort of really magical or really elusive.
  • 00:12:30it's these things it's about ensuring that people have great clarity to do their job that they know what they're required to do, and they have the resources to do it.
  • 00:12:40That they're supported to achieve their outcomes and that their work is recognized and that they can expect to come to work environment where they are truly accepted where they can bring their whole selves to work and they can thrive, not just survive.
  • 00:12:56The quote on the screen is from Guarding Minds at Work in Canada and it's one of my favorite descriptions of a mentally healthy workplace.
  • 00:13:04a place where people can work smart contribute their best effort be recognized for their work and go home at the end of the day, with energy left left over.
  • 00:13:12So, whether you're a senior leader or a manager or you're a leader, by the way you work in your workplace every day, these are some of the magical ingredients to mentally healthy workplace, and we all have a role to play and bringing them to life.
  • 00:13:27As we start looking beyond work, I think that it's no surprise we're about to enter a new on a different stage of the pandemic.
  • 00:13:37Across Australia we're seeing a real period of change were emerging out of lockdowns and we're seeing state start to plan to open borders in states that have previously had pretty low levels of Covid.
  • 00:13:49Whatever our unique circumstances it's likely that either ourselves or or those in our networks around us might be finding this transition, really, really challenging.
  • 00:13:59And it's good to know that there's some research to guide us so this slide on your screen is actually some research from Professor Kimberly Norris from the University of Tasmania.
  • 00:14:10And it's actually about reintegration from Antarctica expeditions and we'll hear more about some similar examples I think when we talked to David.
  • 00:14:19But it's really interesting to see the overlap between this research and the application to those of us who are emerging from extended lockdowns.
  • 00:14:28And some of the key takeaways for me and that we have to remember that readjusting takes time it's really normal to feel peaks and troughs.
  • 00:14:37And they can be really positive outcomes as i've mentioned from such experiences some of that post traumatic growth that we might.
  • 00:14:45take forward with us from what we've been through. One of the most important reminders is that we need to go gently on ourselves, and on people around us through this time and I think one of the great things we can do is to take some time to consider our own well being goals.
  • 00:15:03So how can we recharge our well being as we head towards another end of year, where we've again had a year living through a pandemic.
  • 00:15:14And we start to transition to hopefully the next phase it's really important to think about recharging our own well being.
  • 00:15:22And the case steps to wellbeing are really incredibly simple, but not always easy to implement.
  • 00:15:29So the things like healthy eating getting enough exercise getting enough sleep cutting back on alcohol, all of these things are really critical, but I just wanted to chat about a couple of other things that you might like to consider in your own well being recharge toolkit.
  • 00:15:48connection is a huge part of well being that I think is really powerful and from a well being perspective, we often plan an exercise regime or healthy diet, but how often do we plan how we're going to connect and I think, as we go through this transition and come out of lockdowns and
  • 00:16:06travel as borders reopen planning how we're going to reconnect in a way that feels right for us is a really important part of our well being.
  • 00:16:16Reflecting on achievements is also really important, so what are you proud of that you've survived or learn through this time how have you grown.
  • 00:16:24And remember that these achievements don't have to be grand or substantial, especially in a pandemic, sometimes my achievement have been managing to put shoes on instead of working in my ugg boots, no ugg boots today I'm pleased to tell you.
  • 00:16:38So this is about celebrating even the smallest wins reflecting on our achievements really gives us a powerful sense of hope for the future as well.
  • 00:16:47And another thing to think about is that for many of us, we lost some of the things that give us purpose throughout the pandemic so now's a great time to reflect on what gives you purpose and how you can incorporate that in your own journey of recharging your well being.
  • 00:17:03And the next slide shows a whole range of tools that you can use to really help to support your own well being both at work and individually and we'll.
  • 00:17:14put some information about these tools in the chat and we'll also send out some information after the webinar that gives you more information about these tools, so that you know all about the things that are available to you.
  • 00:17:26So couple of things just before I throw to our panel that I wanted to mention. Over the past 18 months, things have been incredibly challenging.
  • 00:17:35But pleasingly they've really reinforced the importance of mental health and well being.
  • 00:17:41So before we join our panel, I just want to leave you with a thought, how can you personally, learn and grow from what we've been through.
  • 00:17:48What are the opportunities of growth for you, your family your workplace and your community.
  • 00:17:53What are the things that you can do at work and at home, to ensure that your boat is a see where the as it can possibly be to get through this next phase of the pandemic and I'm sure that the discussion with our panelists will give you some other ideas.
  • 00:18:08So let me welcome our wonderful panelists i'll ask them to turn their cameras on so that we can see them.
  • 00:18:16So we're joined today by the wonderful Karina Jorritsma associate Professor Karina, who joins us from the future of work institute at Curtin University.
  • 00:18:27Karina specializes in working including work design and how to build thriving workplaces, so a really crucial topic and specialization that's going to really help our conversation today welcome Karina.
  • 00:18:41We're also joined by David Knoff.
  • 00:18:44David worked for over 15 years in diplomacy defense and operations and, most recently, David lead be Australia's Davis Research Station.
  • 00:18:54Spending over 500 days in Antarctica Antarctica and I just can't wait to hear more about that and David joins us today for a Melbourne where were happily emerging out of our lockdown.
  • David Knoff
    00:19:07Thanks for having me.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:19:08Pleasure David, and Monica Das. Monica is an economist and also a passionate mental health advocate.
  • 00:19:17Monica has been a volunteer speaker with Beyond Blue since 2015 when Monica has shared generously shared her own lived experience with many, many different communities.
  • 00:19:28Through her role with Beyond Blue one is also a founding member of a Community organization called Haathi In The Room, which raises awareness around mental health in the South Asian community.
  • 00:19:39And Monica is also joining us from a city that's reemerging like a butterfly from lockdown joining us from Sydney so big welcome Monica and welcome all of you.
  • 00:19:50And I might just start by i'll start with you Karina, I'll just get each of you to introduce yourselves and also tell us apart from because we asked you nicely, why are you interested in joining us today, and why is this topic about well being important to you so over to you Karina.
  • Karina Jorritsma, Curtin Uni
    00:20:07Yeah okay thanks for trace and thank you all for the opportunity to be here today, and as Patrice mentioned, I study mental health and well being at work and work design and I think that.
  • 00:20:24The relevance to this topic is probably pretty obvious you know we've all been in varying iterations of work redesign constantly over the last 18 months.
  • 00:20:37And so I one I think i'm passionate about the topic anyway, but two I think the timing of this is really good and most of the country is actually emerging from from lock down.
  • 00:20:50The side of the country so i'm over in Perth Western Australia has been severed from the rest of everybody to for a long period of time and so we're really at this point in which.
  • 00:21:03key decisions can be made these mindful choices as Patrice was mentioning around how we reconnect reflecting on
  • 00:21:11what has worked what hasn't and the sort of decisions around the things that we're good you know, not just the surviving so I welcome the opportunity to kind of talk further and unpack that a little today.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:21:23Can't wait thanks Karina and David how did we convince you to come along.
  • David Knoff
    00:21:28Yes, always happy to help out Beyond Blue and look I'm not an expert or a professor of anything.
  • 00:21:34To do with mental health, but have had the unique experience of leading in a toxic station through the pandemic and we're only supposed to be there for about a year.
  • 00:21:42It got extended towards nearly 16 months away from Australia and yeah we left in October 2019 and returning from 2021.
  • 00:21:49So it's been it was quite a journey, while we're down there leading a team that didn't at a point didn't want to be there anymore and myself included, in that it got very, very tough, so we were able to go through and.
  • 00:22:00Using organizations like Beyond Blue and others to help us as a group, get through that and basically go through the entire playbook of things to
  • 00:22:08help our well being and health mental health and then and being at pace with the fact that we were all struggling and all at different
  • 00:22:15waves of that time w curve, as you said, as well how we've gone readjusting to Australia coming back to different states as well, so more than happy to take questions and talk about my experience.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:22:27Well, I can't wait to hear more about it David and that's that's really that's really locked down isn't it when you're actually locked right away from your own country that's.
  • 00:22:37that's an incredible experience to go through and Monica you're a passionate mental health advocates i've got a fair guess at why well being is important for you, but is there anything you wanted to add about why joining us today was important for you.
  • Monica Das
    00:22:51I think you've probably covered it but yeah I think conversation, such as this are just so so important, and I think
  • 00:22:58people being vulnerable and sharing their own experiences and challenges and how they are keeping themselves well is is you know it's a big passion of mine and I've seen that you know bare lots of fruit over the years.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:23:12Yeah I bet you've got some amazing stories from when you shared your story moniker and hopefully we'll have a chance to hear about some of them, but.
  • 00:23:20To start with, can you tell me a little bit about what it was like for you living in Sydney through, particularly through the recent long lock down that you've had in Sydney and what are some of the ways that you looked after yourself through that period.
  • Monica Das
    00:23:34Yeah absolutely so my experience obviously i'm going to take your analogy from earlier on my boat was quite rocky through through through locked down in Sydney so.
  • 00:23:46It was a very, very challenging I me and my partner we're living in a one bedroom apartment and working essentially in different corners of that one bedroom apartment and we were also in a.
  • 00:23:58For those who are joining from Sydney we're in what they call them LGA of concern, they'd sort of
  • 00:24:03picked up a few days we've been sort of the high higher case numbers and they were experiencing sort of additional restrictions from the rest of the city.
  • 00:24:12So we you know sort of its worst we we could only go outside for about one hour and yet, then we were working working in two corners of the one bedroom apartment so it was very, very challenging.
  • 00:24:26To go through that and really not having sort of the freedoms that we would normally use to and the life.
  • 00:24:34We used to so being cut off from family and friends and not being able to see them for a good four months was very challenging as well. And on top of that
  • 00:24:44work pressures so as you mentioned i'm an economist for the government.
  • 00:24:49we've created came, you know, an economic crisis and essentially the length of the lockdowns was the the length of sort of crisis mode for me at work.
  • 00:24:59So it was a bit of a double whammy, so to speak, so you know of we went to try and rescue the new South Wales economy almost immediately, as the lockdowns came down so.
  • 00:25:11Yes, straight into sort of seven days a week of work and long hours and that sort of thing so that was this is definitely a challenge in our rocky part but you know coming coming through the storm now.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:25:26Was there any particular things that helped you to get through Monica that helped you to reinforce the leaky boat a little bit.
  • Monica Das
    00:25:34Yeah absolutely I think we would just we will essentially took a very productive mindset about you know, working with what we have with what we got.
  • 00:25:42And you know that involved really basic things for us, keeping active and physically active, but making sure we had a bit of variety so getting out for walks that you know different activities, when we could get outside.
  • 00:25:56Cooking a lot so doing that you know we've my partner and making that something that's fun activity and again variety, variety is the spice of life, so making sure we
  • 00:26:08enjoyed those little things and those that time we had together, I guess, those silver linings and also just trying new things, and you know, using the time for things that I didn't have a chance to do, I guess pre lockdown time to read more time to teach yourself a new skill.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:26:29Yeah fantastic I think one of the things you said that really resonated with me is that so many of us have jobs have been impacted.
  • 00:26:38You know, tragically, so many people didn't have work which must have been so difficult, but then, for those of us who did.
  • 00:26:45We will often working double time because of the impact of the pandemic, so we will going through our own journey plus working harder
  • 00:26:52than ever and, like you, I found that really just trying to take the time to appreciate, even the most simple things
  • 00:27:00was a really powerful thing, and I really I really want to hold on to that I want to keep being really appreciative of the simple things that in our full lives outside of lockdown I might not have noticed as much
  • 00:27:13David I wanted to go to you, and you, you just shared with us that that your time in Antarctica was you know extended, which must have been so difficult.
  • 00:27:22And then I understand you came back to Melbourne in April this year, which is you know not far off when our kind of on and off and then on for a long time lockdown started, so you came from being locked out of the country to coming back to a long lock down, then how how did you go with that.
  • David Knoff
    00:27:40yeah so it was tough and funnily enough.
  • 00:27:43to use your ship analogy as well we were supposed to sail into the Hobart and then we had an onboard fire on the ship where we lost an engine and had to get the ship going again, so we were stricken in the Southern Ocean for a few hours in massive sizes on.
  • 00:27:55And limping into high into Fremantle, which was the closest port and it was a case of all what Covid.
  • 00:28:01And then finally getting back to Melbourne just before the lockdowns was interesting but
  • 00:28:04readjusting as well that's the tricky thing, and just as Monica was saying that making the most of the opportunities you're in rather than sitting back and daydreaming and lamenting the opportunities you don't have and.
  • 00:28:15I guess that links back to my other jobs as well, I spent most of my career in in and out of war zones and.
  • 00:28:20it's always an environment where you can go and do the things you might want to do, but you just have to make the most of what you've got around you and
  • 00:28:27some of the creativity that we had on the Antarctic sessions, we were running art shows we're running music nights we're.
  • 00:28:33learning from each other so anyone that ever wanted to run a lecture series of whatever their favorite topic or holiday destination was,
  • 00:28:40they'd run that we had fitness classes and just making notes and then leaning into the absurdity of Okay, what have I got around me i've got these opportunities let's make the most of them.
  • 00:28:51And that was kind of the approach I had with coming back here, obviously had a lot of time to plan.
  • 00:28:56Coming back to Australia and expected that then just catch up with everyone and enjoy and that got scrubbed pretty quickly in Melbourne.
  • 00:29:03So focused on the house I focused on on you know renovating and doing all these other things I dreamed of and knowing that all right it'll it'll open up and i'll get that chance
  • 00:29:11a little bit further down the track than I expected and now i'm sort of on that journey of our it's time to see people and get out and about.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:29:19And I don't want to be an incredibly hard, but the way you described some of those things that you did on the station.
  • 00:29:25They devote some great images in my mind and i'm sure there must have been some great moments amongst the challenges, but can you just share with us a bit of what it's like to be on a station in Antarctica.
  • David Knoff
    00:29:35Yeah so in a lot of ways it's the director of the AID calls at a ski resort and it looks like a ski resort in some respects, but.
  • 00:29:43The problem is you're living in working with the same colleagues and you're living and working the same location in my office building was 50 minutes away from the accommodation building.
  • 00:29:51And so fundamentally that the main role becomes holding the line of what's working what to play and we work six days a week.
  • 00:29:59But, making sure that when you could take time off and even factoring into say right i'm going to the gym and I try and go when
  • 00:30:05others who didn't have flexible work time to go and you make treating it like a meeting and like or I call at 10 o'clock that's what i'm going to gym because everyone else will be morning tea or something like that and.
  • 00:30:14Everyone got into those routines but the other key thing, and this will be really important for everyone coming out of lockdown
  • 00:30:20is to make sure you haven't built yourself a new comfort zone that's then not able to be flexible afterwards and we saw that with a few expedition is that over the year they've set up their routines and then they will become so
  • 00:30:32clinical and stuck on that and why do you go to our can I get you to change your shift on dishwasher for the day and, they'd go ohohoh, and you're like
  • 00:30:41that's not important what's important is I need someone to go out and do this penguin survey or seal survey going out and seeing task of the whole reason we go down and look for the scenery in my background.
  • 00:30:50But they build these comfort zones around them, and that that'll be really important going forward to recognize how set you've become at lockdown and your new lifestyle and and slowly breaking that and getting back to where you want it to be.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:31:05Yeah I think that's a great point David and I actually shared with them with my team at work last week that.
  • 00:31:12You know the announcement about Melbourne coming out of lockdown most of us were so excited and I am a massive extrovert and normally my life is very social.
  • 00:31:23So the lockdowns have been a real challenge, but I had this really weird reaction, where I sort of thought hold on lockdown okay.
  • 00:31:30It was almost like i'd become institutionalized into it, I get to go for a walk with my friend that's enough socialization.
  • 00:31:36What do you mean like now i'm going to go to a restaurant to get it felt so foreign and I, my reflection was well if I feel like that.
  • 00:31:47As a massive extrovert you know how to introverts feel or how to people who are feeling more anxious about this field so that was just a real wake up moment for me, but Karina were talking a lot about lockdowns.
  • 00:32:02As you referenced at the beginning you're in perfect the moment and i'm sure it's feeling really strange for people in who is other states and starting to announce.
  • 00:32:10When they're going to open up their borders and and we're not hearing a lot about that from WA i'd love to hear what the experience has been like for you.
  • Karina Jorritsma, Curtin Uni
    00:32:18Yeah um it's a mixed bag, I think, as it has been for everybody, and we are always isolated, to a certain degree over here, and the most isolated cities in the world and, in some ways
  • 00:32:38the fact that most people have been in lockdown situations has meant that we've actually been more connected with the rest of the country than
  • 00:32:49we ever have been before like just today here on this panel meeting you know prior it was probably a face to face event or a series of face to face events and the logistics of coming across and
  • 00:33:02talking and being part of this was probably not going to happen, you know we've really seen
  • 00:33:09really growth in communities of practice and engaging around different Community so I felt in a lot of ways, like you know, Australia and and and the world has has sort of opened up to us, and I must say
  • 00:33:24there's a little bit of fear, both about the loss of that that comes as well as the huge excitement that comes from possibly actually you know reconnecting and
  • 00:33:38minus the fact that most of my loved ones are not within the state borders, you know that's there so
  • 00:33:45yeah I think this sort of idea of which I think many of us have had is there are the aspects to digital technology and use and thinking through that the world has done now that have been beneficial, you know definitely.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:34:03Yeah I really hope we don't we don't lose some of those things that enhance connection that we have been able to achieve I mean I think many of us are
  • 00:34:13desperate for that face to face connection but there's so much that we've gained and i've even found with friends who live overseas, I never used to Zoom call and now that's just a regular thing, and you know we might
  • 00:34:27get a cheese platter and pour a glass of wine and it's almost like catching up and it's just something that's come about as a result of this that we didn't necessarily used to do before so.
  • 00:34:37I hope we can really focus on that that enhance connection when we haven't been able to be connected in the normal way yeah but Karina I was thinking when David was talking about that experience of.
  • 00:34:48of being kind of stuck in Antarctica with your work colleagues and living and working together.
  • 00:34:55We talked about you know mentally healthy workplace, the ultimate goal is to thrive at work, what are some of the key tips that you would give for workplaces, to try and achieve that aspiration of thriving at work
  • Karina Jorritsma, Curtin Uni
    00:35:08Yes, so I think, regardless of whether we are working remotely we are working in some kind of hybrid environment or we're back in the office there are aspects of.
  • 00:35:22 work, and also whether we're introverted whether we're extroverted and the nature of our work that are key
  • 00:35:29to thriving. And one of the things we do need to definitely when Covid arrived was to study that longitudinally as well.
  • 00:35:41We studied people weekly and then monthly as their faired in and out of lockdowns as well and.
  • 00:35:47The reality is that most of the, this is the stuff that sort of holds across across decades of work, the fact is we
  • 00:35:55we need to be able to use our skills at work right, we need stimulating work, so those of us who have been in situations where we haven't really been able.
  • 00:36:05To use our skills to do stuff and kind of been stuck doing other things haven't haven't failed as well in this situation.
  • 00:36:14Some of us have had the overstimulating kind of work in which we've had so many iterations and so much to do and and you know really then we're talking more about intolerable demands that are there.
  • 00:36:26The fact that and I you mentioned this earlier Patrice role clarity, you know, do we understand what we're doing what's okay that's even included
  • 00:36:3610 Zoom meetings a day, the same as X amount of face to face meetings or you know all of those things that are there.
  • 00:36:44Still being able to be rewarded and recognized and seen and acknowledged for what we're doing.
  • 00:36:49Having autonomy, you know, and this has been a big one that everybody's been learning and readjusting around is that flexibility to work when and how we can and what suits us, and one that I think it's really important as we move forward again.
  • 00:37:04there's something called the autonomy paradox that happens as well, when you give people autonomy they want to earn it.
  • 00:37:10So many of us have really done the extra yards, and the extra work which has been exhausting as well on the flip those of us who have had miss,
  • 00:37:20you know, miss trust or haven't had that flexibility that's been really challenging that exists as well.
  • 00:37:26There's the relational aspects of work that we've talked about you know and then there's just having those tolerable demands and that recognition that
  • 00:37:33learning new skills online children in the background homeschooling all of those things are really important to I guess are those things that I guess that learning that our work is actually also important to us, as well as our boundaries that are there.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:37:51Yeah absolutely and I think when we were talking about you know our well being toolkit we talked about that purpose as well and work often gives us a sense of purpose and then I think part of the
  • 00:38:02kind of magic of getting well being right is taking that purpose of work, but then not overusing it, which I think in lockdown some of us definitely did because the need was there.
  • 00:38:14There wasn't the usual things to distract us from it, and it was giving us a sense of purpose when there wasn't a lot of that, so I think to David's earlier point finding our rebalance,
  • 00:38:25as we, as we can hopefully to the next phase of the pandemic is really important.
  • 00:38:32Monica, I wanted to go to you and.
  • 00:38:36I really love for you to share with our audience what made you decide to become a Beyond Blue speaker many people think the thought of that.
  • 00:38:45Standing up in many rooms, full of people that you've never met before sharing you know, one of your deepest personal experiences is a ludicrous idea what made you decide that it was a good idea for you.
  • Monica Das
    00:38:59Yeah I mean at first it was actually quite terrifying to talk about yourself and such personal things.
  • 00:39:06I guess I had my living through my own experiences with anxiety and depression and I, you know it was it was very difficult at the time for me.
  • 00:39:17To find, I guess, a place where I could share my story and feel comfortable and I didn't I mean at the time, I think we've come a long way over the years.
  • 00:39:27I found it very difficult to have these conversations and and I felt quite alone, and I think that was sort of part of the inspiration for becoming
  • 00:39:37a Beyond Blue speaker and actually going to different communities and a normal as i'm, as I said, you know discussing mental well being and mental health, and when I think there's a real power in storytelling.
  • 00:39:51You know I I don't I don't have an extraordinary story, I just have a story, but I think there's a real strength in in sharing that and everyone has their own stories that they can share and.
  • 00:40:03You know, as a Beyond Blue speaker we we don't you know we don't focus on the doom and gloom and the really dark moments necessarily of of our stories, but we know we focus on.
  • 00:40:14On aspects around hope and recovery and resilience and that's the message I think I really want to keep spreading because the more we do it.
  • 00:40:23Then you know if we make a difference to say one person's life, who you may have related to one small aspect of of my story I think that's powerful in itself.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:40:35Yeah that's fantastic and why can we talked I talked a bit in the the introduction, today, about how Beyond Blue has a lot of optimism that there's been a shift in the conversation around mental health through the pandemic, I wonder, through your experiences have you seen any of that.
  • Monica Das
    00:40:53Yeah absolutely I think.
  • 00:40:56I think we've come a long way in in in having, particularly in workplaces, including my own, just having more more conversations and also people feeling more comfortable to share their own stories.
  • 00:41:10And not feel that there's that that sort of really rife stigma, but I also think that you know we can't just say all that we've done the hard yards, and the work is done there's
  • 00:41:20you know there's a lot of communities where that Stigma is still there, so one Community the Community i'm part of the Indian and South Asian communities.
  • 00:41:31For example, still you know mental health is is quite a taboo subject, so we really need to make sure those conversations continue and look at those communities where that Stigma is still still as a rife, as it was five or 10 years ago.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:41:48I think it's such an important point Monica and
  • 00:41:52in the early days of the pandemic Beyond Blue was asked by the the Commonwealth to stand up a coronavirus mental well being support service.
  • 00:42:00And we've done a lot of research sure that support service, and it has shown that one of the groups that's been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic has been multicultural communities for
  • 00:42:11a whole range of different reasons, so I think it's a really good reminder that, even though we've seen some great progress which is really heartening.
  • 00:42:19There is still a lot of work to do. Monica just while we are with you, I wanted to ask one other question. Your role as being a Beyond Blue speaker I hear at the start, it was really terrifying I think we can all understand that what role does it play now in your own well being plan.
  • Monica Das
    00:42:38Yeah I mean I think there's sort of a bit of a element of like self actualization I think you know when you go and you share stories about hope and recovery.
  • 00:42:49You know, it helps you in your own sort of
  • 00:42:52your own recovery and your management of your mental health, so I think it's been it's been quite powerful for me and it's gone from being a very terrifying experience of standing in a room full of people to
  • 00:43:03to one way, which you know, makes me feel like i've got purpose and sort of point you raised earlier and and makes me feel like i've given back to the Community so yeah it's that I guess that's a selfish aspects of of what of helping such a wonderful organization.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:43:21Yeah I know I know what you're saying I don't know if I describe it as selfish, but I certainly know for me that, through the pandemic.
  • 00:43:30It was the times when I thought, not about myself but about others around me and practice Those sort of small acts of kindness.
  • 00:43:38That that made me feel so much better myself, and I think that's a bit similar to the experience of being a speaker.
  • 00:43:44And so it's it's a win, win isn't it when we're able to contribute to others, or to the community, but we're we're not feeling better ourselves and it might be something that people want to considering their own well being plans.
  • 00:43:58David I'd love to come back to you now, and I mean you are working and leading a small team and an incredibly high pressured environment. Did conversations about mental health and well being become normal layer and how did, how did you focus on keeping everyone, as well as you could.
  • David Knoff
    00:44:17Yeah they really did it in before we even left we did a lot of work with the Antarctic program itself, and then we got some.
  • 00:44:23We got actually got a Beyond Blue speaker in when we were in Hobart before we left to talk about it and a normalized it and I allowed every everyone on station to take mental health days and
  • 00:44:32you know, take time out where when they needed it and not scrutinize minute that it became a balance on station, you only have a critical amount of people to get the job done so there was
  • 00:44:43difficult if you took a day off often it just meant, you have to work twice as hard the next day and i'm sure everyone can relate to that.
  • 00:44:49It is a really hard thing and what we're able to do is then it periods in the in the year and over the the second summer that that we could slow down and take our foot off the gas.
  • 00:44:58To plan for those and we're out of time okay right we're gonna have to work really hard for the next month because that's when the weather is going to lead us achieve
  • 00:45:05these particular tasks, but after that we're going to take two extra long weekends in a row of cleared it with and talking to people as technical supervisors to go i've cleared it with the technical guys.
  • 00:45:15You can scrap all this stuff that you think you're going to have to do you're not going to have to do it because we need to focus on making sure that we're ready for
  • 00:45:21the resupply right at the end, which is one of the most dangerous things that happens when you have the icebreaker day you're running barges running helicopters.
  • 00:45:28We have to ramp right back up to our best after you know 16 months away and as a small little community and that's really important to then make sure you as a leader you're planning ahead for the group to be at their best when they need to be.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:45:45Yeah it's really interesting isn't it, you know so many times in workplaces, we plan for the budget or their annual plan or
  • 00:45:53the marketing plan or you know, whatever it is that we need to do, but taking that time to actually plan how we're going to keep
  • 00:45:59people well through really busy periods of time, especially is sorry important, and I know that.
  • 00:46:06You know a lot of workplaces have risks that are really hard to remove, but when you can't remove those risks it's thinking about what can you plan for those protective factors that you can wrap around it, so I think it's really
  • 00:46:18important and I know you know for us at Beyond Blue one of the things that the we did to look after our staff was we had whole Beyond Blue days off where.
  • 00:46:29You know people didn't have to use any of their life, but everyone had leave on the same day, which meant that and that's something we were able to do, luckily.
  • 00:46:38But it meant that you sort of knew when you came back everyone been off, so you weren't coming back to that huge backlog of
  • 00:46:46work that you might have done otherwise, so I just, I just wanted to to talk now a little bit about this this transition that we're all going through slightly differently depending on where we sit
  • 00:47:00around the country, but just to give people some tips about how they might look after themselves through the transition.
  • 00:47:08Karina I'm really keen to understand from from your research background I guess what are some ways that people can look after themselves through a transition whether it's for designing or emerging from lockdowns.
  • Karina Jorritsma, Curtin Uni
    00:47:22Yeah sure um I think the W Curve that you showed and David mentioned as well you know
  • 00:47:30is a really powerful in a useful way to look at things, but I think as a starting point it's recognizing what's going on for ourselves right like actually for a moment, going,
  • 00:47:41are we fearful we overwhelmed you know, are we actually potentially you know it really excited because,
  • 00:47:50change is still you know something that requires our attention and takes you know energy from us.
  • 00:48:00In addition to work done from you know remote areas or reintegration has been you know expat literature and stuff where
  • 00:48:11I think that something studies show that most people expats actually have a harder time coming back to their own countries than they do
  • 00:48:19going to the new country because there's lots of time and energy as well spent into helping people readjust so we realized we've changed things aren't quite how they,
  • 00:48:29we remember it those types of things that are there, so if anything it's about like investing in adjusting now as much as we have done at home, you know or in in the various iterations that are they're expecting that that,
  • 00:48:47we do really have to think about yes, what we learned. But I think David's comment earlier was you know, one that really resonates around we've adjusted to new strategies we've developed new ways of doing things,
  • 00:49:01that might not fit in this. We can't go back to the old because it's not the same as the old we can't use the existing strategies that we had during this time, so we actually even though we're possibly more tired,
  • 00:49:15you know and and more exhausted than ever before. We have to find a new balance and a new normal that's there and to that lightens you know really lastly it's about,
  • 00:49:26you know leveraging those reconnections and feeling that cop, I suppose, in in other ways to to kind of balance that that's going to be hard work.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:49:37Yeah I just got so much out of so much of what you just said and you've you've really am triggered off a
  • 00:49:45realization for me many years ago I lived and worked in Bangladesh, for a year, which was an incredible experience and I remember that feeling and, at the time I didn't know what it was, but when I came home that feeling of reverse culture shock.
  • 00:50:00And it was one of the most confusing things i've ever experienced because
  • 00:50:05Bangladesh was so different to Australia and I came back and everything was normal but I had changed so much, so it didn't feel normal anymore, and it was really disorienting.
  • 00:50:15And it's only just then when you said it that it made me realize i've been feeling something similar because
  • 00:50:22i'm getting this chance to get back to my normal life but i've changed and I hadn't thought of it as reverse culture shock before but that's actually been
  • 00:50:31incredibly helpful for me, so thank you and hopefully helpful for our audience as well. David i'm sure there's something similar coming coming out of Antarctica what's that experience been like for you, and what are some of your tips to help people get through it.
  • David Knoff
    00:50:47And you're right on the money I've come home from multiple deployments over 15 years coming home is always harder and one of the
  • 00:50:54main things to do is manage and expectations don't expect that it's all going to be back to exactly how you wanted it to be straight away it'll be a frustrating return and as a personal example,
  • 00:51:04with Melbourne's Freedom Day, I waited till Sunday afternoon until I met one mate at a pub.
  • 00:51:09Giving them time to kind of get their staff and check in procedures and all that right, because you just
  • 00:51:13you'll want it to be as perfect, as you remembered whatever it is you, going back to and it won't be and I like to use the analogy of
  • 00:51:20pre and post 911 if For those of you that are old enough to remember that it'll never go back to pre 911 you'll always have to deal with something to do with this pandemic.
  • 00:51:29And certainly as well coming back to the workplaces having an open openness to empathizing with others who've been on really different journey, some people will have
  • 00:51:39cruised through this with no dramas at all and others will have really struggle with it and listen to them, let them talk encourage them to talk, or if they don't want to talk give them some space and
  • 00:51:49really roll with the punches on that one because it will take a long time to settle and it won't go back to how it was, which is unfortunate, but it is a reality of returning to your life after COVID.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:52:01Yes, it's such a good point, and you know i've had so many examples just in the past week of
  • 00:52:09you know I have, I must admit, being one of the people who i've got a spreadsheet with all the restaurant bookings that i've made my excitement.
  • 00:52:18But i've been really mindful of who i've been inviting and how i've been inviting people and and one friend who
  • 00:52:26I invited came back to me and said Thank you so much for always including me, but I just I just can't come and i'm not sure when I can.
  • 00:52:33And, I just said to her that is so okay and i'm here whenever you're ready in here, for whatever you need. But I think it's a really important reminder one of our staff was talking about
  • 00:52:45the excitement in her family into state saying you'll be able to see us again, and she just said i'm just not
  • 00:52:50quite ready to plan and book that trip when there's been so many disappointments and I think kindness and patience and gentleness are just the real case at the moment.
  • 00:53:02And to that point Monica people might have been really looking forward to this time and then, as it comes they might find it harder than I thought and find that they need some support.
  • 00:53:14Have you got any tips on how people can make that first step if they need if they feel like they need some more support, through this period of time.
  • Monica Das
    00:53:23Yeah absolutely um yeah there's there's lots of supports and tools available, but it can be quite daunting and some people don't know where to start.
  • 00:53:33But I think help can come in different forms, is probably my main the key message, so it can be just as simple as reaching out to your loved ones.
  • 00:53:42A family member or friend and telling them about what's going on, or sharing your your stressors or what's worrying you but reintegrating back into society in a post lockdown life, but you know if you do want to seek help from elsewhere there's
  • 00:53:59you know many organizations i'm sure have employee assistance programs, and you know i've used them in the past.
  • 00:54:07You know leveraging those services that are available, and you know, having confidential conversations with counselors and you know just talking to them
  • 00:54:16about what's going on in your own life and always say you know you know if you're feeling unwell or a bit off you go, you can take yourself to the doctor, and this is no different.
  • 00:54:28You can always go and talk to your GP about what's going on in your life and if you're struggling with your mental health.
  • 00:54:35And they they are probably one of the best resource people to send you in the right direction, to make sure he gets one and help so don't don't treat it like a you know, a cold or anything else is is probably my best advice.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:54:49I think that's a really great tip Monica and
  • 00:54:52often we hear as well that people say that, like with a gap, I guess, sometimes it takes a few guys to find the right to pay that works for you and it's really similar isn't it with
  • 00:55:01someone who you want to talk to about your mental health it's really important to feel comfortable in that interaction and sometimes it takes a couple of guys to find the right person.
  • Monica Das
    00:55:11Yeah absolutely, shop around.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:55:14Absolutely now i'm just having a look, we have had a question that's come through earlier.
  • 00:55:21Someone recently posted on social media about having one of those days, but having it almost every day for two years now.
  • 00:55:28And a lot of people have echo those sentiments we're all in this together, but how do we try and get out of it together is there anything that any of you would add we've probably talked about some of it throughout the discussion, but is there anything anyone would like to add?
  • David Knoff
    00:55:46I can tell you what I think one of the main ones will be the connectedness and I came up and one of the slides earlier but as soon as you break down that barrier of like geez it was tough I just had a week of
  • 00:55:56couldn't get anything done, drank too much ate terribly, all of those things, the minute you think of that common ground with someone else because i've gotten me to
  • 00:56:04And I had this on station at different times when I was struggling and admitting it and then someone else's straight over, geez,
  • 00:56:11boss I just the same, like this is just the worst thing I think i'm like what are you doing, how are you trying to get through it or,
  • 00:56:18what did you do when you got got a setback or and then planning things together let's meet for a walk or let's meet for a run and having that
  • 00:56:25small team connections, rather than trying to deal with it as a huge workplace, it can often be better, just like for you guys as a duo work together or as a small team and finding a connection and a shared experience will give you a plan out of it.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:56:39Yeah I think that's a really great tip I think I think as well, from my perspective, it's about.
  • 00:56:47you know honoring and accepting that will go through this differently and at different paces and that that's okay.
  • 00:56:54And finding a way to create the rhythm with different people in our life that might be different, with some people on with others and that's Okay, and giving people the time and space to move through at the pace that works for them.
  • 00:57:09Fantastic I want to finish up today on a high note.
  • 00:57:15If there's any questions that have come through that we have not had time to get through, we will send out to all participants a Q&A.
  • 00:57:22Along with a whole lot of other information and resources, but I want to really finish off today on a on a high note.
  • 00:57:30I'd love each of you to just sort of quickly tell us in a few words what's your what's your being hope for the future based on what you've experienced or end or what's your sort of well being goal as we head into this next is Karina did you want to kick off.
  • Karina Jorritsma, Curtin Uni
    00:57:47Sure, maybe i'll wrap up by saying, I would like to continue to grow, the connections that I have fostered over the last 18 months, as well as
  • 00:58:01to kind of look back on what was achieved what is there and to keep experimenting, I suppose, and to continue to really kind bid the good bits.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:58:13Fantastic, what about you David.
  • David Knoff
    00:58:16I have a strange one, I always love trying to learn out of adversity and learn out of experiences like this and that's the one for me is learning from everyone else some random I can connect with and
  • 00:58:25made out what did I do, what did they learn, and I think it's working a lot of people up to some things that could change in society and in politics and having as well and and hearing all of those and then
  • 00:58:36trying to look at ways we can improve where we're at and where you're at individually as an organization as a family and as a nation and as states,
  • 00:58:45where we can move forward and what have we all leart out of this 18 months so it's not just a waste of time where everyone got a bit fat and drink too much. It's cool, what do we learn out of that and how do we move forward and I really enjoyed that part.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:58:59Yeah, it would be a tragedy to come out of this and not have that shared collective learning as well, and I think part of our role as individuals, might be advocating for that change as well, so what about you Monica.
  • Monica Das
    00:59:10For me it's just all about reconnecting so hoping to do you know with family and friends that are overseas as well, is my big hope.
  • 00:59:20But also just reconnecting also with colleagues, and you there's team members i've never even met in person and being able to do that and and build those those really trusted personal relationships, I think it's a big big hope for for the next year.
  • Patrice O'Brien, Beyond Blue
    00:59:37I've just got a really kind of warm fuzzy excited feeling hearing you say that because you know, certainly in Melbourne and most of our Beyond Blue staff are based in Melbourne we went through that last year we went through nearly a year not meeting
  • 00:59:51colleagues, and and now we've sort of done it again, so looking forward to getting back to our office and seeing those people and reconnecting it's very exciting.
  • 01:00:02That's brought us right up to the end of the session so I don't want to keep anyone over time, but I want to thank all of you, our panelists so much I think it's been a wonderful discussion it's left me feeling
  • 01:00:12more inspired. And I also want to extend my thanks to all of you, our audience it's been really terrific to have so many of you along today and a big thanks once again for all of your support of Beyond Blue, we truly appreciate it. Thank you all and take good care.