Massive high fives to all the great people getting involved with campaigns around important issues of mental health and suicide prevention for veterans and others. I have seen a lot of people sharing the 'It's ok to talk' hashtag for Beyondblue and I was recently nominated to take part in the 22 push-up challenge by a guy that I respect and admire a lot. I've done a lot of push-ups in my life (I know it doesn't exactly show) and never for a particularly good reason, so accepting the challenge might seem like a no-brainer. But I'm a bit unusual like that... After some thought I chose to decline the challenge.
While I think it is really great that both of these campaigns are resonating so strongly with people, this isn't how I want to contribute. After all, we each have our own ways of making a difference - check out this legend's way of doing so.
So seriously well done to all those legends doing push-ups, growing moustaches and posting selfies, for playing your part in raising awareness of mental health. I just want to ask one follow up question. What now? Mental illness and suicide are important issues that deserve your attention for more than just a short campaign. I am hoping your intention to make a difference will stay with you as a guiding principle for your future behaviour so that you become (or continue to be) the person others would feel comfortable confiding in.
That is harder. You can't hashtag the kind of empathy, compassion and tolerance required. You have to live them continually- and almost every significant action you take contributes to this either positively or negatively. It is worth thinking carefully about the personality you project to others. If it is intolerant or judgemental, who would come to you for help?
If you are not demonstrating compassion and tolerance towards others, maybe these campaigns are a good reminder to start. I'm hoping you will also extend this same compassion and tolerance towards yourself, especially those of you who are veterans.