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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mnnews.today/aurora-magazine
We know that 4 million Australians will
experience mental illness this year alone. Many
more of us will be affected as family member s,
friends, colleagues or school mates. No longer
can we consider mental illness to be a fringe
issue affecting only a few. In fact, it affects us all.
October is Mental Health Month and an
oppor tunity to put the spotlight on mental
health and mental illness. Some days I think we
are making great progress, but we still have a
long way to go.
After a decade of effor t to increase awareness
and knowledge about mental illness, some
people still r eturn to work following an
episode of mental illness to silence and
averted ga zes.
Some family and friends of those living with a
mental illness still sit at home with no one to
talk to about how they are coping, while we
readily cook for, and check in on, our friends
with a sick child.
And we still have men and women of all ages
who know that what they are thinking and
feeling may be caused by mental illness but
feel unable to reach out
for the help they need.
Being mentally healthy
and living well is
impor tant to each one
of us -- whether we
are living with a mental
illness or not. It's about
enjoying life and fulfilling
our potential. It's having
the ability to cope with
stresses and sadness, and it's
about being connected to those
We all know that to keep a car going, we have
to fill it with petrol, check the oil and water
regularly and give the tyres some air. To see a
bank balance grow, we need to make steady
deposits. But how of ten do we take the time
to reflect on whether we are giving ourselves
what we need to flourish and live well?
It can be so easy for us to take our mental
health for granted ; to prioritise other things; to
put it off until next week. It can also seem too
big and too hard. But it's not. There are some
things ever yone can do. What better time
than Mental Health Month to give them a go?
1. Get enough sleep and rest. Sleep affects our
physical and mental health, but can be the
first thing we trade in when we get busy or
2. Take time out for things you enjoy. Balance
in life is impor tant, so taking time out for
things you enjoy can make a difference to
how you think and feel.
3. Be active and eat well. Our physical and
mental health is closely linked, so exercise
and nutritious food every day can make us
4. Nur ture relationships and connect with
other s. Our connection to other s is what
builds us up and keeps us strong.
5. Learn to manage stress. If you
have trouble winding down
or managing thoughts you
may find rela xation, yoga or
recording your feelings in
6. Get involved and join in.
Being par t of a group with
common interests provides
a sense of belonging so find out
about local spor ting, music, volunteer
or community groups.
7. Build your confidence. Lear ning improves
WHAT DOES IT TAKE
TO LIVE WELL?
BISHOP TO RECOGNISE YOUNG
your mental fitness and taking on a new
challenge can build confidence and give
you a sense of achievement.
8. Be comfor table in your own skin. Everyone
is unique and should be celebrated. Know
who you are and what makes you happy.
9. Set realistic goals and deal with ta sks one at
a time. It is good to be specific when you
set a goal to help keep you on track.
10. Reach out for help when you need it.
Everyone needs suppor t from time to
time. Talking to a family member, a friend,
your doctor or one of the many ser vices
available can make all the difference.
Mental health and wellbeing are impor tant to
individuals, families, schools, workplaces and
communities. There is a role for each of us.
So, what will you do differently this month?
For fur ther information about mental health
and wellbeing, please visit:
• Hunter Institute of Mental Health
• For young people , headspace.org.au
• For information about mental illness and
living well, SANE Australia sane.org.au or
Jaelea Skehan is the director of the Hunter
Institute of Mental Health.
Many young people in local Catholic schools
have demonstrated strong commitment to
their communities through their involvement
in their parish or church groups or agencies.
The Bishop's Award has been a way of
publicly recognising these wor thy effor ts
and encour aging other s to become similarly
This award was developed and implemented
by Bishop Bill in collaboration with the
Federation of Parents & Friends Associations.
The first Catholic Schools Bishop's Awards
were presented in 2013 during the annual
Catholic Schools Week Mass to young people
in our Catholic schools who were enrolled
in Years 7-11. These young people had
demonstrated commitment to their parish
and school through involvement in a variety
of activities and ministries.
The award has been re-imagined with a
view to broadening the eligibility criteria so
recognition can be given to the great work
of Catholic students and youth who are not
enrolled in Catholic schools in our diocese
and who contribute to their Catholic parish
Two new categories will now be added:
the Catholic Students Bishop's Award for
young Catholic students enrolled in state
or independent schools or who are home
schooled, and the Catholic Young People
Bishop's Award for Catholics from Year 12 to
25 years residing in the diocese and belonging
to a parish.
An award in each categor y will contribute
towards the young person's education or
continuing faith formation.
In sharing his experience of r eceiving this
award in 2014, Alexander Melville said, "I
was encour aged to apply by others around
me who saw what I was doing in the parish,
school and generally in the community. I
think it's good that there is a way for young
people to be encour aged and suppor ted in
their commitment to their church and school
communities. Students can look up to their
peer s who are trying to live out their faith."
It is hoped that this recognition will ser ve as
a means of acknowledging and encouraging
continued effor ts of these and other
Application packs will soon be available in
parishes and Catholic secondary schools.
To learn more, contact Cath Garrett-Jones,
Parent Liaison & Resource Officer, Catholic
Schools Office. P 4979 1303 or
Reach out for
you need it.
time to time.
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