When we started planning the content for this edition of BayBuzz, I had envisioned one article on mental health. Mental Health Awareness Week would be occurring while this magazine was ‘on the stands’. 

I imagined the article would focus on the Government’s apparent slowness, despite heaps of rhetoric, to actually deliver more resources to the frontline professionals attempting to address ever increasing demand for counseling services. 

But as our editorial team discussed the issue, it became clear that we needed to devote far more attention to it, and from numerous perspectives. And so mental wellbeing has become our main theme for this magazine. 

Our various articles touch on different aspects of mental health policy, mental wellbeing needs and resources (especially amongst our youth and the rural community), and the broader contexts of self-esteem and physical wellbeing. 

We were well down this path when another Covid lockdown occurred, adding even more stress to all of our daily routines. Certainly to the preparation of this edition of BayBuzz magazine, which will still appear digitally if we can’t print. 

Hopefully this treatment of the issues will assist you in taking care of yourselves, and encourage you to be mindful, watchful and respectful of the mental wellbeing needs of your families, colleagues and friends. 

What follows is an excellent example of the caring attitude we should all embrace. 

As we were working on the magazine, I saw a message sent by Mark Aspden, chief executive of Sport Hawke’s Bay, to his work colleagues and beyond them to many followers in the sports community. I think it sets exactly the caring tone needed throughout our community, in our own self-care and in the way we care about others. 

So, from Mark Aspden … 

Kia ora koutou 

Many of you will have seen media coverage of the tragic death of cyclist Olivia Podmore. A number of you will also have been personally affected by suicide. 

I have mentioned in the past how stunned I was by the suicide of a good friend a day or two before I started here – I had had no idea that she was at all unwell. I did learn from that is just how difficult – if not impossible – it is to know what is really going on with people. Two days before I had dinner with her and she seemed fine. I guess that life is always throwing both opportunities and challenges at us and we each respond to those in our own ways. 

What I do know though is that while our work in the community is important and makes a real difference, there is nothing we do that is so critical that any one of us should be sacrificing our mental health for it. NOTHING. 

I don’t want you to do things which would have a negative effect on your mental health. 

Nor does anyone on our management team. 

Nor does our board. 

Nor do any of our funders. 

We can deal with any consequences of not meeting a deadline. 

There is no meeting that cannot be rescheduled. 

The pool can be closed. 

As COVID has shown us, any event can be postponed or cancelled. 

We can come up with different ways of completing any task. 

If on any given day, or any given week, you feel that you just can’t do something, or that you can’t do it as well as you think you need to, then tell someone. Your manager and I will come up with a plan to deal with it. That’s what we are here for. 

And of course EAP services are always available. 

Take care 

Kia kaha Mark 

Every workplace in Hawke’s Bay should operate with those values … and probably most do. But you never know the burdens others are carrying. And more can always be done to make those values explicit, meaningful and trusted by all. 

Be well, 

Tom Belford

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.