Supporting mental health this Christmas

8 min | News, Wellbeing

Giving back this Christmas and finishing 2020 on a high

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For many of us, giving back at Christmas is a big part of the holiday season. But it can be hard to find the time, or the money, to give back in a meaningful way.

There are numerous ways in which you can contribute such as volunteering, giving blood, befriending a lonely neighbour (while social distancing of course), donating food, or buying a homeless person a coffee. 

While many get caught up in the magic of Christmas, for others it can be a very tasking time. Since the beginning of 2020, Australia has dealt with fires, floods, a pandemic/quarantine, and a recession which has led to many Australians mental health coming under major stress.

This got us thinking about how we can help finish the year on a high and really make a difference. This year, in place of gifts to our doctors and healthcare clients, we chose to give back by making a $3,000 donation to the Black Dog Institute.

Rather than just donate the money, we asked our doctors and clients who are on the frontline, where they felt the money is needed most. Our doctors were given four options to choose from: (1) support the iBobbly wellbeing app, (2) fund Black Dog’s online clinic, (3) promote BITE BACK, a positive psychology program and (4) invest in new research. Then, depending on the number of votes each option received, a percentage of the $3,000 would be allocated.

About Black Dog Institute

Since their foundation in 1985 as the ‘Mood Disorders Unit’ at Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney; Black Dog Institute has been at the forefront of mental health research. The Black Dog Institute has continually evolved to drive the creation of new knowledge and ensure that clinical best practice continues to be improved and refined, in line with the latest evidence.

Today, as an independent not-for-profit medical research institute affiliated with UNSW Sydney, their focus has expanded to address new challenges and opportunities in mental health – suicide preventiondigital innovationlived experienceyouth, and workplace mental health.


What wellbeing initiatives got your vote?

Thank you to our doctors and healthcare clients who cast their vote and helped us decide where the money will go. Without further ado, here are the results.

#1 – Support the iBobbly App

In first place with 35% of the vote was supporting the iBobbly App. iBobbly is a social and emotional wellbeing self-help app for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over. As little as $39 can help pay for a young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to use the app, meaning the $1050 allocation will enable 30 people to use this great service.

Completely private and confidential, it helps by showing you ways to manage your thoughts and feelings, as well as how to decide what is important in your life.

Importantly, everything that is seen, heard, and experienced in the app is shaped by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to ensure that iBobbly is culturally informed and safe.

#2 – Fund Black Dog’s online clinic

A close second with 26% of the vote, was the option to help fund Black Dog’s online clinic. Created by leading clinicians and based on research, Black Dog has developed a free mental health assessment tool that is suitable for anyone over 18 who is worried about developing mental health issues or would like to get a better understanding of their mental health.

The Online Clinic takes you through a range of clinical assessments for common mental health conditions. In the end, you receive a personalised report with suggested support services and free or low-cost resources for you to access. A $100 donation can help fund this platform and ensure it stays free for those who need it. 

#3 – Promote Black Dog’s positive psychology program – BITE BACK

In third place with 23% of the vote is Black Dog’s BITE BACK program. BITE BACK is the very first online positive psychology program designed to improve the overall wellbeing and resilience of young Australians aged 13 – 16 years old. This FREE, self-guided program has been extremely popular since its release in 2018, amassing over 10,000 registrations in its first 12 months.

Evidence now shows that using BITE BACK can decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as increasing wellbeing. It achieves this by using a combination of fun, interactive activities, quizzes, animations, and information across nine positive psychology domains including gratitude, optimism, flow, meaning hope, mindfulness, character strength, a healthy lifestyle, and positive relationships.

The allocated $690 donation will enable 100 Australian youths to take part in the program, which will help with emotional resilience and learning tools to cope with stress later in life.

Option 4 – Invest in research

Last but not least, with 16% of the vote, was research. Research into mental health and suicide prevention is at the heart of everything Black Dog does. Their innovative trials and strong collaborations have been providing solutions for the whole population for many years.

Their work in mental health continues throughout their investigation of new and better ways to treat and prevent conditions like anxiety and depression through digital tools and novel treatments.

Again, we’re sending a heartfelt thank you to all our doctors and healthcare clients for helping us support mental health with this Christmas donation.

And don’t forget to put yourself first and take care of your own mental health and wellbeing. If you are feeling stressed this Christmas, please ask for help and get the support you need by contacting 000 Lifeline, or Beyond Blue.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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