Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing concerns the emotional and mood factors that influence your overall sense of wellbeing.

Mental health

Mental health and mental wellbeing are related, but different things. If you have the right care and a support network, you can have good mental wellbeing even when you are living with a mental health condition. But an unmanaged mental health condition can leave you with poor mental wellbeing.

If mental illness is part of your picture — or emerges — make a long appointment with your GP for an assessment and consider asking for a referral to a psychiatrist. It is better to act fast, if you notice early warning signs, because there can be a wait to access public services and even private care.


When things are difficult or not going according to plan, responding with self-compassion rather than ‘I should/n’t…’ will help reduce your stress and ease the impact on your body. Self-compassion can be encapsulated in Tara Brach’s ‘RAIN’ approach: recognise, allow, investigate, nurture.

Returning to your body and the present moment

When we are triggered – experiencing trauma symptoms – we are living in painful experiences from the past. When we are worrying, we are thinking about what might happen in the future. One of the most powerful practices for maintaining mental wellbeing is learning how to bring yourself back to the present moment, often by focusing on what your body is feeling here and now.

Consider practices like a body scan meditation or use grounding techniques in the moment.

Getting away from work

Explore hobbies and social activities that have nothing to do with the communities you work with, e.g. a sporting club, dance group, or book club that doesn’t overlap with the peer spaces you are working in.

Spend some time walking in a park, garden or bushland.

Keep in mind that entertainment that relates closely to your work, like historical AIDS dramas for HIV peer navigators, can be triggering, and the traumatic symptoms are no less real just because the triggering content is fictionalised.

Using social media

Make decisions about how you want to use social media. Are you going to use your own personal account for your work as a peer navigator, or create a new one for your ‘work self’? What information will you share about yourself / your friends and family? Learn how to mute, block, and filter, which can give you some control over unwanted interactions.

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