Isn’t it an irony that our hyper-connected technological era can leave people feeling more disconnected than ever before? It is not uncommon for someone to have over a thousand friends on Facebook, but not a genuine mate to count on.

Isolation, mental health issues, substance misuse and suicide are common side-effects of our time. Over 3.5 million Australians are seriously impacted by alcohol and other drugs1. An average of 8 Australians choose to end their lives every single day2.

At Holyoake, we do our best to bring lasting changing to individuals, families and communities. I encourage you to think about contributing positively to the wellbeing of those around you – at home and at work. Here are 5 simple tips:

  1. Lead by example – look after your own mental health.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask “Are you ok?” if you feel something isn’t right.
  3. Be aware of available mental wellness helplines, websites and other resources.
  4. Encourage family, friends and colleagues to talk about issues and listen without judgement.
  5. Reach for help before issues get magnified into problems.

Every year, we reach out to thousands of people affected by alcohol, drugs and related issues. We welcome them with a holistic, non-judgemental approach in a safe and caring environment. Our evidence-based counselling programs are not just for people at the deep end, but also for those affected indirectly – parents, partners, children, adolescents, family and friends.

We have gone a step further by investing in social enterprises to build resilience and to manage issues before they escalate into problems. Our DRUMBEAT program is achieving proven social outcomes across Australia and around the world. Our DRUMBEAT Quest computer game improves resilience, social and emotional learning in young people. Our Wellbeing@Work programs raise awareness of stress and unhealthy coping in workplaces. Our free app My Wellbeing Mateconnects people to a wide range of wellness resources.

Never underestimate your ability to empower others. As Matt Bevin once said: “While it may seem small, the ripple effect of small things is extraordinary.”

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1The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre study 2010 2Australian Bureau of Statistics – Causes of Death 2014