'Staying connected' is key to building good mental health

This article has a video attachmentPublished on LEUT Debra Holland (author)

Topic(s): ADF Mental Health Day, Mental Health

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett has called on all Navy members to “look out for each other and themselves” on ADF Mental Health Day 10 October.

“It could be as simple as asking your mate if he or she is OK,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.

The ADF Mental Health Day is a Joint Health Command initiative and aligns with National Mental Health Week (6-12 October).

ADF Mental Health Day 'Stay Connected' A3 poster.

ADF Mental Health Day 'Stay Connected' A3 poster.

The focus this year is on ‘staying connected’ which acknowledges the positive impact strong social connections with family, friends, colleagues and the wider community can have on our mental health.

“To be the best we can be, to fight and win at sea, requires each of us to be the best we can - in terms of our individual and collective skill, our physical health and, importantly, our mental health.

“What we do is not ordinary nor is it easy. So to succeed in the demanding environments in which we train and operate, we must look after each other,” Vice Admiral Barrett said.

Having positive social connections can be especially important during more challenging times or in response to stressful events when it helps maintain individual and collective wellbeing and enhances resilience.

All Defence personnel, both full time and part time, in uniform and in the Australian Public Service are encouraged to reflect on their own mental health and that of their colleagues.

“So today and every day, I want every one in Navy and in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to look out for each other.

“Ask the question, take action - know how to help yourself and how to help your mates,” he said.

Also during National Mental Health Week, Vice Chief of Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs was invited to address the National Press Club on the ADF's approach to mental health issues, undertaking the Grace Groom Memorial Oration (former Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Australia).

Vice Admiral Griggs focused on the complexity of the challenges in the mental health landscape the ADF must manage, the need to modernise the notion of the warrior while continuing to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health issues. He also outlined the ADF's mental health priorities stressing the importance of leadership in getting better mental health outcomes, outlining some of the ADF's best practice mental health initiatives.