The second week of October used to be Mental Health Week, but more recently October has expanded to be Mental Health Month.
It's an opportunity to broaden the spectrum and make sure our understandings are up to date and meaningful.
A statistic I have seen says that one in five people in Australia will at some time in their lives experience some form of mental illness. That is an enormous percentage of the population and must cause all of us to stop, look and listen.
Recently our State Member for Orange, Mr Phil Donato, circulated a little booklet of information about available resources entitled Mental Health Tool Kit.
This contains contact numbers and locations of services right across the electorate and can be a valuable asset.
Mental illness, like any physical illness, has many aspects and diagnoses, long and short-term, severe or light symptoms, hereditary, drug or alcohol induced or resulting from enforced incarceration or lack of basic justice.
The lockdowns that have been needed to control the spread of the current coronavirus have been particularly difficult for people who lack the initiative to cope with it constructively.
Inability to visit our ageing and seriously-ill family members can pull heavily on the heart strings. Lack of employment, with the accompanying shortage of available cash for essential living can weigh very heavily on a person's mental wellbeing.
For a number of years now, the Bloomfield Hospital Auxiliary has drawn its "giant raffle" during Mental Health Week.
This has raised funds to provide ways and means to assist the patients to recover, recreate, and bring a little bit of joy.
This is now the second year when this has not been possible, and we are grateful to the many people, businesses and individuals who have made generous financial contributions to keep us afloat, even when their own future is under pressure.
Hopefully, the new year will give us back the opportunity to do a barbecue or two and look at another raffle!
Many refugees who have risked life and limb seeking refuge and a new life in Australia are still living in "no man's land" awaiting government decisions for their future.
My question is - how long can it take for a government department to process these applications?
It isn't weeks or months, but years of uncertainty and hopelessness that must have repercussions on their mental health.
The Muruguppan family are being subjected to a life of uncertainty and helplessness.
This is a classic example of the failure of the laws to protect the wellbeing of the people coming under their jurisdiction.
Hopefully, the people stranded overseas, separated families, refugees and asylum seekers, the homeless and unemployed might reach a compassionate outcome before Christmas.
So the message for each and all of us is to take good care of our mental health, recognize the symptoms, seek out the most appropriate service provider to get professional help and not be ashamed to admit our needs.
In addition to this of course, is to treat others who may have a diagnosed mental illness with respect, understanding, mercy and compassion.