Natasha’s story – Q&A with a community advocate

When it comes to mental health, we are all different and what works for one of us may not work for another. That’s why we’re asking Queenslanders to share how they ‘Take time – for mental health’ this Queensland Mental Health Week (QMHW).

Brisbane local Natasha Malmstrom is a feminist, parent-leader, community advocate, health equity and social justice warrior, and a fierce human. Passionate about raising awareness of mental health and promoting person-centred care approaches, she also acts as a consumer experience representative as part of the QMHW governance structure.

We chatted to Natasha about how she takes time for her mental health and her thoughts on the sector.

How do you take time for your mental health?

I find that if I take time to plan my days in advance, they’re more productive, and help eliminate additional stresses. I try to ensure that I have balance on a weekly basis, engaging in things like exercise, eating well, mindfulness and meditation. I also check in with psychologists when I need to and make sure I take time to connect with family, friends, and culture.

Why would you encourage people to get involved in Queensland Mental Health Week?

Positive mental health and wellbeing are important for us all and being involved in Queensland Mental Health Week can help to reduce some of the stigma associated with mental health. Those who are brave and willing could really utilise this time to explore the different ways to keep themselves healthy and well. There’s fun stuff to do during the week too!

What does a meaningful and impactful support environment look like for you? Are there things that have made you feel ‘supported’ by others around you – your friends, family, mental health staff, or otherwise.

Meaningful and impactful support looks like support that is person-centred, non-judgmental, holistic, that means people are listening to you and giving you dignity of risk for what works and what doesn’t. When it comes to support, I think it’s important to remember that being there for someone means not saying anything at all but just holding the space and being with them.

Is there anything about mental health, mental illness, or the mental health and community sector that you wish the community knew more about or was discussing more?

I would like the community to know that when people are help-seeking the system there isn’t always equity of access and equity of resource to meet the population needs. That’s why it’s really important that we individually support feel safe to share with us when they are struggling.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Movies and the media sometimes don’t give a true reflection of what mental health or mental illness are. People present differently and when it comes to mental health symptoms and treatment, it can be as subjective as your favourite food or colour. Different things work for different people.

Want to share how you take time for mental health? You can join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #QMHW and #QMHWTakeTime

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