The power of networking


I was fortunate last week to have an extended teleconference call with Dr Andrew McClelland.

Andrew is a Senior Lecturer on Mental Health for the Centre for Remote Health.

We originally connected via the Good Vibes experiment – we are hoping to get some Activity books sent out for NT students – but we soon realised there is a lot of similarity in our roles and that got us talking (we also realised that we studied together at Flinders for our undergraduate degrees). 

Andrew has had a tonne of experience developing programs and curriculum for training people in mental health. I consider myself really just at the early stages of developing programs and curriculum content, so I have a great deal I can learn from him. 

Andrew was kind enough to share some of his self-care workshop materials which I am looking through at the moment. They are fantastic. Here is his working list of self-care resources that he talks with rural and remote health students about. I hope to share some more of his resources soon – perhaps in a workshop format. I had been intending to write a self-care workshop but Andrew might have saved me the time (and done a far better job that I could). 

Andrew and I share an interest in holistic approaches to mental health. Namely, we like to think beyond the confines of our discipline (psychology) and consider the many evidence-based avenues to mental health. For example, what role does nutrition play? What role does physical activity play? What is the role of nature and green space in mental health?

We also share an interest in behaviour change, that is, how do we make the change in our lives necessary for good mental health. In the health arena, we spend a lot of time focusing on the what – meditation, exercise, sleep, nutrition, taking breaks – but we often neglect the fact that making healthy changes is hard. All the good intentions in the world don’t necessarily add up to sustained long-term change. 

I’ll admit it was cool to be able to meet and chat with someone who is working the same kind of mental health promotion space. It is also cool to meet someone that I know I can learn a lot from. 

So what are the implications of this meeting for you, the reader?

If you are a remote or rural health NT student and you haven’t had contact with Andrew as part of your studies, he is worth looking up.

Otherwise, hopefully the brain exchange between Andrew and I means we can deliver some additional mental health focused learning opportunities and materials to the broader student population in the coming months. 

Stay tuned.

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