Everyone should be encouraged to be a chatterbox says Emily Turnbull, an Albert-Eden local.
“All kids and adults should be encouraged to share, to chat openly, to express feelings, to ask for help, to be listened to,” she says.
Emily’s message is timely as Mental Health Awareness Week kicks-off on 26 September but there is also a personal reason why she thinks this is important.
A few years ago, Emily’s husband Darryl Paton committed suicide. There was only a handful of people who knew he had bipolar. Darryl felt deep self-stigma, believing that he would be treated differently or judged if people knew of his diagnosis.
Raising awareness of mental health and well-being and encouraging all of us to connect and chat more, is the Turnbull family’s way of paying tribute to Darryl’s life.
“Darryl once said to me, that telling people about his bipolar was scary and too hard, so he hid it. We need to make it easier to chat about the big things, to chat about how we’re really feeling and what's going on - be it a good day or a rough day. One of the ways we can do this is by all connecting more, checking in on each other and having a real chat,” she says.
The Turnbull family highlights exactly this at the blessing of the newly installed friendship seat at the Harbourside Reserve aptly named ‘chatterbox’.
Albert-Eden Local Board has supported Emily’s initiative. The Chatterbox plays a part in enabling connection and conversation - key for not just living a healthy life but thriving as well. The local board hopes the local community and park visitors will find it useful to take a moment to pause, rest or reflect at the spot.
“Our parks are such important places for people, especially to unwind, connect with others, with nature or to exercise. Doing these things can have such a positive impact on our well-being whatever our age” says local board chairperson Margi Watson.
“If we can help people to form positive connections with others or to seek a bit of help when things get tough, we’re all doing better - we can all play a part in being a community where everybody cares and can thrive.”
The signage on the seat encourages people to free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor if they need to.
Emily is pleased to draw attention to Mental Health Awareness Week (26 September – 2 October).
If you’re in danger right now, please call 111.
Look after yourself
If you or someone you know will benefit from seeking support, please contact these numbers:
Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 or text 4357 (HELP)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: Call 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Need to talk? Call or text 1737
Youthline: Call 0800 376 633 or text 234
What's Up: Call 0800 942 8787 (11am to 11pm) or webchat (11am to 10.30pm)
The Lowdown: Text 5626 or webchat for help with specific issues
Anxiety Helpline: Call 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)
OutLine: Call 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE) (6pm-9pm)
More resources are available here.
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