Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and no one should feel ashamed. By sharing our experiences, together we can end the stigma.

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Ask twice and start a conversation about mental health

Performing: I make a living out of it. I get on stage and make people laugh. I’m currently on tour doing just that. And I love it. But (and there is a but) even in a dream job, I’m constantly acting like I’m fine when sometimes I’m not. Don’t we all do that though? I mean, that’s part of my job, to entertain when sometimes I hurt inside. But aren’t we all putting on a mask when we are asked a simple question:

“How are you?”

World Mental Health Day: A Letter to My Colleagues

Dear colleagues,

I want to be open with you all about my own mental health, particularly at work and I would appreciate it if you could take the time to finish reading this.

It's hard to talk about mental health, so ask twice.

We all do it, don’t we?

‘How you doing?’

‘Yeah, I’m good thanks.’

Or, in my neck of the woods, ‘I’m alright.’

No further questions your honour.

Most of the time we will be just that: alright; fine; okay. Good, even.

Sometimes though, we won’t be. Sometimes we might feel that our whole world is falling apart. Still, ‘I’m alright.’

But sometimes, all we want is for someone to see. For someone to break through and ask, ‘Are you sure?’

5 ways to ask twice when your mate says I'm fine

When asked “how are you?”, how often do you tell the truth?

Yep, thought so. Don’t worry, I fib too. All the time.

Now, how often, when someone says to you “I’m fine”, do you follow up if you’re think they’re not? Yep, me too.

I’m very fortunate that I have a fiancée, some family members and a handful of mates who seem to sense when my mental health is dipping and know to ask me twice (or more!) if they hear “yeah, fine, you?”.

Now, asking twice doesn’t mean literally saying the same thing again. That would be annoying.

“How are you?”

Living with Bipolar

Many people believe having bipolar means simply dealing with alternating very high and very low moods, but there is so much more to it. During a manic phase, the person can experience delusional hallucinations, which can be terrifying. During a depressive phase, the person may become very forgetful or indecisive. It isn’t as simple as “today I’m happy, tomorrow I’m sad”. It can be life-threatening. So please, the next time you crack a “bipolar joke” – bear this in mind.

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