Last week, I went to the headspace Armadale Cultural Conversations event. I was feeling really tired and didn’t really want to drive all the way out to Armadale when I could sit on the couch and watch Netflix. But I dragged myself off the couch, and I am so glad I did. It was an amazing night filled with great speakers that really made me think about what it would be like to be a part of the CaLD (culturally and linguistically diverse) community and how that relates to mental health and talking about mental illnesses.
The speaker that had the biggest impact on me was Ms Sisonke Msimang – she is an Author and Social Commentator. She spoke about the three issues facing CaLD young people in relation to mental health problems:
The first was resilience; CaLD people are very resilient. But they are so resilient they can forget to ask for help if they need it. Which is something that can be hard for a CaLD person.
The second point was gratitude and how CaLD young people feel very lucky to be living in a beautiful country where they are safe. However, often CaLD people are so happy and grateful that they do not seek help and will not speak up about issues because they are so much smaller than some of the issues they may have faced in the past. And therefore, they do not get the support they need to be healthy and happy.
And the third point was happiness and social media. I know exactly what she means! Just look at social media – it feels like all of my friends are going on exciting holidays, graduating from University and getting engaged every three seconds. You would believe that everyone is so happy and they never have a bad day. However, this is not always the case. Generally, we only put up photos of us doing happy and fun things when we are looking our best. We never post a photo on a bad hair day or at work. This is an issue for the whole population and not just CaLD young people.
After talking about these issues she left us with some advice, first was to build communication with the whole community because you don’t get things done by yourself.
Second, is to be equally grateful with the place you have moved to and yourself. Often CaLD people forget about the skills they bring to their new community, however they are actually actively contributing.
Third is living a life online makes it hard to be real and vulnerable in the physical world. There is a fine line between exposing yourself on social media and making yourself vulnerable.
Finally, every interaction we have with human beings is a learning experience and we all need to learn from that and make the next one better.
I learnt so much from this event and I am so happy I decided to get off the couch and go. I would highly recommend it to everyone next year.