R U OK?

Our mental health experts share insights on R U OK? Day - the second year it will be held during a COVID-19 lockdown period in Victoria that has forced people into isolation.

Professor Craig Hassed OAM, Deputy Director, Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies

Expertise;

  • The importance of relationships and connectedness
  • How mindfulness can improve mental health, resilience and physical health
  • The importance of a healthy lifestyle for good mental health
  • How to foster post-traumatic growth during COVID-19

“Social isolation can have a very negative effect on mental health, so at any time, but especially in times of adversity, we need meaningful connections and relationships with others. Just reaching out to others, showing that we are genuinely interested and care, can make a massive difference to that sense of isolation.

“Mindfulness is a tremendously simple and accessible approach to foster good mental and physical health, and to help us during difficult times, but it also helps us to find and savour the simple pleasures in life.

“Poor mental health is not just related to the way we think - as important as that is - it is also related to the lifestyle we lead. Good sleep, exercise, diet, connection with others - all these are mental health interventions in themselves.

“Sometimes adversity is unavoidable in life, and most people assume that stress and trauma are inevitable during such times, but there are as many people who grow and are improved by adversity as there are those who are harmed by it. It is our duty to explore why that is so and what we can do to help ourselves be improved by life's challenges, such as the current pandemic.”

Professor Jayashri Kulkarni, Monash Central Clinical School’s Department of Psychiatry

Expertise;

  • Why women's mental health is worse due to COVID restrictions
  • Tips on identifying the difference between mental illness compared to feelings of frustration by current lockdown
  • A mentally healthy coping strategy for this tough time - how to live in the present (rather than the past or future!)

“As the pandemic and lockdown continues, R U OK? Day is more important than ever before. No-one is immune to mental stress - so check in with your family and friends, and self-reflect on your own mental health.”

Dr Katherine LawrenceClinical Psychologist and Lead, Child Youth Family Clinic, Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health

Expertise;

  • The mental health of parents juggling work and home schooling
  • The importance and tips for parents to take care of their mental health

"It is important for us as a community to recognise the important role parents are playing right now and acknowledge the pressure they are under. Parents need to look for the things they are doing well, to do things that are good for their own mental health, and remember that the most important thing a child needs from them is love and support."