REACHING OUT: The team at the Emerald Neighbourhood Centre.
REACHING OUT: The team at the Emerald Neighbourhood Centre. Aden Stokes

Connecting is important

RECOGNISING the importance of community connection is the way of the future regarding mental health.

Director of Emerald Neighbourhood Centre Jeanelle Horn said she strongly believed this sentiment, stating "it will assist all of us to become more confident and competent to care for ourselves, friends, colleagues and neighbours”.

"Recognising the importance of community connection will also bring the community to a level of awareness where people can say 'I am experiencing depression', or 'I am experiencing anxiety' and it not be a shock,” she said.

"I think a lot of people find they have something that is not accepted within the community, however when we think about it, it's something that's impacting on our community, our country and worldwide.

"I think elevating it to be talked about more and integrating these conversations into everyday life is how we are going to combat it.”

Ms Horn said it was never too late to help someone or yourself to live a more fruitful and happy life.

"I think that's a big one because day-to-day living can be quite monotonous,” she said.

"I do find we tend to just be trying to cope with our own lives, however, when we look after ourselves and start feeling healthier we can actually look more broadly and reach out and help someone else.

"We can point them in the right direction and give them the confidence to think it's all right to get counselling, support or whatever they may need.”

Moving forward, Ms Horn would like to see people embrace mental health, understand it and acknowledge it.

"It's a benefit for future generations to be able to embrace ideas on how to be living differently,” Ms Horn said.

"Also, engage support - keep networks of friendships, families or extended colleagues.

"It's OK to say 'hi, how are you?' and share information you might have.”