I don’t know but ‘how are you?’ is always one of the hardest questions to answer.
Sometimes we answer automatically with “I’m ok thanks” so quickly that the words are out of our mouth before we’ve had time to think about it.
Yet perhaps there's no more important question to ask - and answer - during this time.
One of our most popular guests, Katee Gray (or Katee Pedicini as you might know her), returns to Sparta Chicks Radio this week for another difficult conversation; this time around the impact that the pandemic has had on our collective mental health and mental wellbeing.
This is Katee’s 5th time on the podcast.
In fact, she was my first guest on the show at the start of 2020 and I don’t think either of us had anticipated she’d be back again so quickly or - let’s face it - how 2020 would turn out.
Katee and I begin by briefly discussing her experience as a first time mum during a pandemic.
Next, we dive into the research and statistics around the impact that the pandemic has had on mental health in Australia (and some of the numbers are, quite frankly, shocking).
Then we transition over to talking about what we can do to look after our own, and others, mental health, primarily around the idea of ‘holding space’ (or debriefing as I call it).
So Katee and I then discuss:
* what it means to ‘hold space’
* the power of connection and conversation especially during difficult times.
* how to resist the urge to ‘fix’ how someone is feeling,
* what you say after someone has shared how they’re feeling,
* how to set boundaries and/or look after yourself if you don’t have the capacity to hold space for someone else (especially important if you’re struggling too), and
* why it’s important to accept how you feel, regardless of how you feel (essentially, that it’s ok not to be ok).
Plus Katee mentions a post outlining 50 ways to hold space for someone without asking the question ‘how are you?’. We cover a few of those suggestions in this conversation and you can find the full post here.
Whether your mental state or life has been directly affected by the pandemic or you’re someone who has thrived this year, I know you will take a lot away from this important and, at times, uncomfortable conversation.
We have two ‘asks’ of you after listening to this episode:
* ask someone how they are, and
* do something to hold space for yourself today.
If you or someone you know needs help, in Australia you can contact: Lifeline 24 hours per day on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or the Black Dog Institute.
Notes and resources:
Here are the links to the sources Katee mentioned in our conversation:
* Coroners Court - Monthly Suicide Data Report: Report 1 – 27 August 2020
* Black Dog Institute - Mental Health Ramifications of COVID-19:
The Australian context
* Genetics and depression / Antidepressant efficacy study
* Australian Medical Association - Joint Statement: Covid-19 impact likely to lead to increased rates of suicide and mental illness