When we talk about looking after our health, the ideas of succulent strawberries, leafy Veges and pounding the pavement probably come to mind right? While there’s absolutely no problem with thinking along those lines (our physical and nutritional health is indeed important to our general wellbeing), today it’s our mental health I want to challenge us all to think about, and talk about with friends and family.

Even in today’s multicultural, multilingual society that stands up for marriage equality, women’s issues, youth unemployment and domestic violence, there is still a stigma around mental illness. This is so crazy because the statistics are screaming at us that 50% of us will suffer mental illness at some point. That’s one in two of us! It baffles me that stigma can still be around when half of us know what the battle is like.

Our own workplaces in the mining and construction industries are not exempt from the impact of mental illness on society. In fact, one Beyond Blue report found that construction and mining industry workers may have elevated prevalence rates of depression and anxiety, and it reported that suicide rates appear higher in some male-dominated industries such as agriculture, transport and construction.

We all have off days, but warning signs for mental illness can include anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, anger, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.

Sadly, it’s largely the stigma around mental illness that is preventing people to seek out support and recovery solutions. That’s why a charitable organisation, Grow, has created Odd Socks Day, an initiative by Grow, to help stomp out the stigma around mental illness. To show your support, simply join me in wearing your odd socks this Friday 7 October, shout out the details on social media or register a fundraising event!

Grow’s goal is to raise $50k to help deliver vital support for those in need; one being to establish an online virtual group platform so those in remote areas can attend Grow sessions. This is particularly important for our industry and for those working so remotely. I hope you can get behind it. And if you’re suffering from any of the warning signs above, please contact Grow or a health professional for support.

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