Mental Health Week

mental health weekBy Ros Marsden

This week, Mental Health Week, I happened upon a story in the Huffington Post highlighting a photo of fans greeting the cast of the movie Black Mass at Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, Massachusetts. The premiere had a high profile list in attendance including Johnny Depp and Dakota Johnson. It would have been quite a moment to have the stars in town.

The Huff Post story was headlined “Can you Spot the Best Part of this Photo?”

Alone in the mass of spectators stood an elderly woman, comfortably leaning against the security rail. Her eyes were focused, taking in every megasecond of the festivities taking place in her small 60,000 population Boston town. She looked happy.

Why did this woman stand out? Because she was the only person in the crowd” living the moment”. Behind and beside her men and women concentrated on their mobiles, watching the event through their screen pad and stretching upwards to grab a moment they couldn’t see.

Mental Health Week may provide a moment for us all to pause and ask if we are focussing on the friends and family we love. When you are distracted by the technology embedded in your hand can you really listen to the subtle hints offered by those in distress?  Often it’s the throwaway line, the small expression that makes us realise a person may be asking for help. When you don’t take the trouble to close your phone or laptop and fully engage in a conversation, you may well confirm to a person doubting their worth that they are not that interesting.

Take another look at the woman in the photo. I reckon she would be a listener. Maybe today is the day you put your phone in a drawer and find out what’s happening in the world around you. It might be fun.

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. 

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