How can you help people who are not OK?
* Do more than ask the question “RU OK?” today. Ask it every day. Follow it up. Actually listen to the answers. Be prepared for the answers. I’m a supporter of RU OK day. Any time our world brings mental health issues into discussion, I think we’re all better for it. But it’s important to be consistent and prepared too.
(The RU OK website has resources about how to ask this question and how to follow up).
* Ask the Australian government what they are doing to support mental health in our community. Question them about their support of RU OK Day whilst simultaneously causing, perpetuating and ignoring mental health problems of human beings through their inhumane treatment of asylum seekers in detention centres. Apparently the mental health of asylum seekers is not as important as other human beings living in our country. The hypocrisy is chilling.
(You can write to the immigration minister, Chris Bowen, at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org).
How can you support mental health in our world?
Respect your children. RESPECT YOUR CHILDREN. I can’t say it enough.
Mental health is a complex issue – with many genetic and environmental influences we are still discovering. But there are things we can control and influence to make make this planet a healthier place. It starts with we relate to our children.
Science is pointing us back to the importance of emotional health in childhood – and how it ensures our ability to experience healthy, secure and fulfilled lives as adults.
“The key to world peace and sustainability lies in the way collectively relate to our children… Our understanding of early childhood development has grown so rapidly in recent years, that we can now say the following with unprecedented confidence: the human brain and heart that are met primarily with empathy in the critical early years cannot and will not grow to choose a violent or selfish life.”
~ Robin Grille, Parenting for a Peaceful World
You can respect your children and nurture empathy by:
1. Giving them the dignity of being a human being (ie they are not sub-humans).
2. Respecting their right to have feelings and their right to express them.
3. Listening to them (their cries, their hearts, their primal needs).
4. Communicating with authenticity.
5. Choosing not to bring fear, violence, manipulation or shame into your relationship.
To put it simply, the more and more we respect and listen to our babies and toddlers, the less and less tyrants and bullies we have in this world. And the more we value our children’s emotions, the better equipped they become in dealing with unavoidable stresses in life.
How about this for an idea? Mental health. Every day. For everyone.
I think we can do it. I’m hopeful.