Fran Weber interviewed by Jess Kniaz
Lotus People are so proud to announce that we are donating $500 from every placement made in October to mental health awareness charity, batyr. Mental Health impacts one in four of us and this month, as well as raising funds for the charity, we will also be sharing our own personal stories and any useful resources and tips that we have found useful.
Mental health issues affect us all, whether that is through our own struggles or those of the people we are closest to. As we know, October is mental health awareness month. This month reminds us to check in with ourselves, our colleagues, friends and family.
What has been your personal experience with mental health?
My exposure to mental health has been primarily through the experiences of people close to me. Until recently, I was relatively oblivious to just how much of an affect mental health can have on someone’s decisions, relationships and career – however the struggles of a very close friend have educated me. That is why I have chosen to discuss the importance of supporting others.
How has your friend’s experience changed your perception of mental health?
Being aware of a friend’s struggles with mental health has made me acutely aware of their behaviour. It has also allowed me to recognise certain tendencies of my own that are caused by an unhealthy mental state. It has certainly caused me to take a step back and acknowledge that a person’s actions and behaviour can be controlled by this.
How do you support others living with a mental illness?
I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will not understand that person’s thought process or reasoning, but that is not relevant in a conversation about their mental state. I’ve learnt that ensuring you are in a position and state of mind to engage in this discussion is crucial – this is something that was also promoted during the R U OK? Campaign. They stress that the person asking the question must be willing to enter into this discussion, and be prepared for the response.
What tactics do you use to support others?
I always try to engage my friends in outdoor activities – it is impressive how much sitting in a park in the sun and being approached by a stranger’s dog can help!
Maintaining the conversation and making it a part of your friendship is also paramount. I’d like to think that talking about it and normalising their experience has made my friends feel comfortable sharing and leaning on me. Removing the stigma around mental health means raising awareness, both in the community and within our relationships.