May 13, 2022
Speak your Loneliness
Richard Asomaning, our Community Wellbeing and Engagement Manager, reflects on conversations beyond Mental Health Awareness Week and ‘speaking your loneliness’.
Mental Health is a big topic – there’s so much to unpack even in the words ‘mental health’, which can be both therapeutic and triggering. So where do we even begin?
We start with Mental Health Awareness week. The theme of loneliness is this year’s topic for Mental Health Awareness week. The timing of such a theme is prophetic coming off the back of the most lonely period in peacetime, COVID-19.
Mental health is everyone’s responsibility, it impacts all of us
Of course, the biggest challenge for people like me, who work in Mental Health and Wellbeing, is raising and flying the flag for mental health beyond its annual designated week. Mental health is a continual crisis for many, so why should its flag be raised for 7 days out of 365? Mental health is everyone’s responsibility, it impacts all of us, especially those who are the most vulnerable, including the people I work with, who come from refugee, migrant and asylum seeker backgrounds.
Loneliness is a state of mind…
Nonetheless, MH Awareness Week helps us to focus on particular challenges, including loneliness. But what is it? Loneliness is not just a loss in absence, but a state of mind. Loneliness is a thought with potential to grow. It does not discriminate and can turn into an unwanted friend. Loneliness is invisible and its presence dwells even in the company of loved ones and those we hold most dear. Loneliness comes and goes as it pleases.
Isolation and loneliness impacts all of us, but when you come from a migrant, refugee and asylum seeker background, maintaining good mental health can be especially challenging. Immigration laws in this country are complex and overwhelming, some people are denied access to public safety nets – leading to poverty, and others struggle to find their community while rebuilding their lives. All of these factors impact mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, isolation and, often, profound loneliness.
Speak your loneliness
How can we be lonely when surrounded by loved ones? How can we be lonely when help is available? How do we solve this?
It is free to speak to someone about your mental health. It is free to speak to a loved one.
You must be wondering what the remedy is… The remedy is to speak loneliness. You heard that right, speak it.
To speak loneliness is to communicate loneliness with someone, to share it, to share its effect in conversation, to release its burden on you with those who have the grace and shoulders to take it off you or to help you carry it. Many things come at a financial cost but it is free to speak to someone about loneliness. It is free to speak to someone about your mental health. It is free to speak to a loved one, it is free to speak to a colleague, it is free to speak to a friend. Exercise your freedom to combat loneliness.
Access our mental health support services if you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. We’re committed to enabling everyone to thrive in their everyday lives.