Recently two OPSEC staff members had two different experiences that brought mental health to the
fore. One was involved in a movie project about mental health and another was at an event
promoting music as a way to spread the mental health message.
As we all know, mental health is a serious concern in New Zealand and so it is encouraging to see the
different projects and programmes designed to bring this particular subject to our attention. To
demystify it, to help explain what people are struggling with, and remove the taboo that has stopped
those affected from being able to speak about it.
This is helping phrases like “Just harden up mate” and “It’s all in your head” slowly become a thing of
the past. We have a long way to go but because of some really good initiatives at least progress is
However, there is one person’s mental health that is often overlooked……Our Own.
Like any health problem, it’s easier to maintain good health than to try and fix it later. So, what are
you doing for your mental fitness and emotional wellbeing?
Truth be told nearly all of us do something. Whether it’s walking or working out or pottering in the
garden, it all helps to cast off the stress of the day and help balance those mental and emotional
anxieties. However, we don’t always see it for what it is or how important it is.
This is why identifying these self-correcting things are a part of every OPSEC workshop. We know the
accumulation of toxic stress has serious negative effects on our safety and all aspects of our health:
mental, social, emotional and even physical.
So in all OPSEC workshops, we stress that WE have to put a value on those things we do every day to
recalibrate. Value that time spent listening to music, playing with your kids, reading a good book,
creating a meal or watching the sea break onto the beach.
More importantly, guard them jealously. We live in a world where we’ve become time poor and the
pressure can leave us exhausted and unhealthy. Finding your pressure release and using it daily is
just as important as money in the bank.
So the next time someone is giving you a hard time for lying on the couch while reading a book,
listening to music and enjoying a glass of wine; just tell them you’re in the middle of your mental
fitness and wellness session.