There’s more to wellbeing than not being ill
SAMHC Featured Blogger:
Minister for Health and Wellbeing
I have now been the Minister for Health and Wellbeing for nine months. I am the first South Australian Minister to have Wellbeing in my title.
Wellbeing isn’t just the absence of mental illness, nor the absence of physical ill health, it’s about feeling and being really well – what I would call thriving.
I want South Australians to have access to a hospital bed when they need it, but even more to be part of the community that provides the support and primary health services that support them to get well and stay well.
As the holiday season and Christmas rapidly approaches, I know this time of year can be both stressful and busy for many, but also a time of reflection on the year that has been, and more time with friends and family. For me, it will mean a break from parliamentary sittings, fewer meetings and public events, and less time in media interviews!
At a personal level, I ask you to be aware of how you are feeling. This time of year can create social pressures that can feel overwhelming – especially if you have pre-existing mental illness, are estranged from family members, have experienced a lot of change or perhaps bereavement recently.
If you are feeling this way, and particularly if you think you might be in crisis, I encourage you to seek support – whether it be from mental health triage, a phone service such as Lifeline, or a trusted person within your family, friends circle, or community.
In writing this blog, I was also asked to reflect on what I do to maintain my own mental health.
Being a Minister is a privilege, and I’m very fortunate to serve, and to serve in such an important area as health. But it’s also long hours and hard work, with responsibility for very important issues. For this reason I do need to recharge myself physically, mentally and spiritually.
Part of coping with a serious job is not to take yourself too seriously. I find that keeping a sense of humour, individually and as a team, helps to sustain us.
I’m fortunate to live in the Adelaide Hills. I have good access to beautiful walking trails in our hills. I find a bushwalk with my wife socially engaging, physically invigorating, and a great opportunity to clear my head. I guess the endorphins from this activity also help with my overall mental wellbeing and happiness.
Music can also be a tonic for my day.
With the advent of streaming services, I’m able to listen to music that suits the mood that I’m in. Whether I’m feeling reflective, looking for something to both inspire and relax me, or need songs in the background as I work or think, there is a playlist to suit every occasion.
Walking to our local church service brings all of these elements together.
I hope that this Christmas will be a time of wellbeing for you and those you care about. I would encourage you to think about what actions nurture your wellbeing and, in the New Year, resolve to make more room for them.
By Stephen Wade
Minister for Health and Wellbeing
As Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade’s portfolio covers health, mental health, ageing, substance abuse and suicide prevention.
After graduating in Law and Economics from the University of Adelaide, he worked as a parliamentary adviser at State and Federal level, including for former Liberal Health Minister, Dr Michael Armitage.
Stephen has worked in corporate governance and on a range of Boards, including as Chair of Julia Farr Services Inc.
He was appointed to the Legislative Council in May 2006, and served as a Shadow Minister from April 2007. He was appointed Minister in March 2018.
SAMHC Featured Bloggers
The SAMHC presents our series of guest featured bloggers who generously share their personal thoughts and experiences of mental health and wellbeing.