This is my first mental health blog for the Ballarat Women’s Clinic – and I’m excited to be writing it. Mental health(1) is so important to our overall health, at all stages of life.
Writing a blog about women and mental health got me thinking about the women in my life; my mum, my sister, my stepmum, my aunts, and my friends (and I took a moment to remember my amazing Nanna, who always had a way of lifting my spirits – I miss her).
I realised that the women in my life, just like so many of the women that I work with as a psychologist, have something very important in common. They have spent a lifetime prioritising others and doing things to support others. They are mums and grandmothers, aunties, daughters, nieces and friends and neighbours, and if you ask them for help, they will be there – and that is such a gift to give. But so many of them would ‘soldier on’ themselves in the face of their own personal challenges.
My guess is that you know these women, and you are also very likely one of these women. You have probably talked with friends and family members about exactly what I’m talking to you about, checking in on them to see if they are okay.
So maybe it is time to think about looking after you. I’m going to invite you to ask yourself a few questions, and pay attention to your answers – what do you hear yourself saying?
If you answered these questions with clear plans and recent experiences – you’re already taking positive steps to look after you!
You might also have read these questions, and thought about what you could do, and the things you do enjoy.
When we do things we enjoy, we feel better – we have more energy, and our mood lifts. It’s one of the first steps in cognitive behavioural therapy (therapy that is based on the connection between thoughts, feelings and actions), and it works(2).
It seems to me that this might be something we could all build into our lives, intentionally, to look after and to prioritise ourselves. And maybe it’s something to remind each other about from time to time.
…take another look at that last question: What is one thing that you could do this week, however small, that would be a way of prioritising you?
1. The World Health Organization defines mental health as “…a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community.” (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response).
2. Dimidjian, S., Hollon, S. D., Dobson, K. S., Schmaling, K. B., Kohlenberg, R. J., Addis, M. E., Gallop, R., McGlinchey, J.B., Markley, D.K., Gollan, J.K., Atkins, D.C., Dunner, D.L., & Jacobson, N. S. (2006). Randomized trial of behavioral activation, cognitive therapy, and antidepressant medication in the acute treatment of adults with major depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(4), 658-670.
Written by Clinical Psychologist, Dr Kylie McKenzie.
See our Mental Health page for more information – we will be adding to it over the next few months.
If you think you’d benefit from working with a mental health professional, to improve your mental health or to recover from a mental illness, talk to your GP.
Dr Kylie McKenzie (Clinical Psychologist) is an experienced mental health professional who works at the Ballarat Women’s Clinic.
To book an appointment please contact the Ballarat Women’s Clinic on 03 5332 9940
Ballarat Women’s Clinic is unable to provide a mental health crisis service.
In an emergency, if you need police or ambulance assistance, dial 000.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need immediate support, please call:
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Together with Brigid Moloney, we have put together a team of health professionals with expert knowledge to care for women at every stage of life. Welcome to the Ballarat Women's Clinic.