Your hopes for the world after the pandemic
We recently reached out to our Blue Voices community to pose the question:
“What do you want the world to look like when we come through this pandemic?”
Below are some of their responses.
A more accepting world
Throughout her life, Denise has experienced a range of mental health conditions. She says being at home with family made it easier to manage her mental health. And of the future?
“I just want the world to be more accepting and loving.”
Development as a community
Ruby says COVID-19 has definitely impacted her mental health and has also added pressure in terms of her search for employment.
Ruby would like to see “more respect and appreciation for mental illness. Social justice. Community development. More love. Better relationships.”
She also hopes that people will “have more patience, be more appreciative and less greedy.”
Focus on family
After losing her son to suicide, Katrina developed post-traumatic stress and depression. COVID-19 has been a challenge for her, and the easing of restrictions is bringing a sense of anxiety for the members of her family who are considered at high risk of serious illness due to the virus. When she looks to the future, her thoughts are clear.
“I would like to see people appreciate their families more and be grateful for what they have. Spend more time with family. Know what is important in life.”
Jackson’s work and university studies have continued online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few months, he's realised the importance of routine, exercise, diet, social interaction and keeping busy in maintaining good mental health.
He’s also come to appreciate the slower pace of life.
“It reminds me of when I'm driving in traffic, watching everybody yell at each other in their little metal bubbles as they hurry to their destinations, when an ambulance emerges; everybody immediately appreciates that someone is in trouble, someone needs help, and suddenly being late to work or school pick-up isn’t such a horrible problem to have. The virus has felt like that; everyone is suffering together a little bit but acknowledging that it could be a lot worse.”
He says he has also “really enjoyed the slowing down. My days feel longer and more relaxed, everybody takes a little more time to smile at me walking down the street, there's not nearly as many cars on the road.”
“I hope we can all remember how valuable those aspects of this experience have been and factor them into our consideration when sculpting our lives as we re-enter the real world.”
Reduced stigma around mental health
Mikaela first started self-harming and having thoughts of suicide at the age of 12. Today, she speaks openly to people about her mental health and the various challenges she has faced.
She says that “the restrictions have made me realise what I really value in life and what is really important for me and my mental health and wellbeing.”
In terms of the broader community, Mikaela wants, among other things, “the world to be more understanding and empathic towards people and humanity in general. I want mental illness to be even more de-stigmatised.”
Positivity towards others
After initially experiencing an “overwhelming feeling of despair and hopelessness,” Peter turned his attention to what he could do around the house, such as gardening, cooking and online learning.
He would like people to come away from the pandemic and be “more positive to others around us, less insular and self-centered.”
Generally, he’d like to see “more caring within and across communities.”
Kindness and understanding
After losing her role in the travel industry because of COVID-19, Rachael initially struggled but soon used the time to focus on her self-development.
“I would prefer the world to be kinder, and more understanding. Empathetic that we've all gone through something together. And hope it will bring us closer.”
Increased support for people of all backgrounds
The pandemic has impacted Josette’s studies and caused low mood, increased anxiety, difficulty focusing and feelings of being overwhelmed. But she has also learnt the value of simple activities like mindfulness, yoga and spending time with family to help her stay positive.
The past few months have also reminded her that “mental health is just as important as physical health, and one without the other is not any good.”
“I want the world to be one that openly communicates about health – both physical, and mental. I hope that from the difficulties of COVID-19 more awareness and everyday discussion about mental health can arise, and support is increased for those struggling right across the board, no matter their socioeconomic status or background.”
Growth through shared experience
Now in her mid-twenties, Emily has experienced anxiety and depression on and off since she was 17.
“I want the world to be appreciated. I find in today’s society we can be very rushed and disconnected due to pressures, work commitments, family responsibilities and so on. So I would like to see people slowing down, taking time-out if needed and living in the present moment.”
“Also, I would love to see the stigma when it comes to speaking about mental health continue to be broken down. People who have never experienced it (mental health challenges) may have through this pandemic, and people who have experienced it may be finding it especially difficult to cope during this time. So more than ever I believe it is crucial for people to speak up and connect.”
She ends, “the pandemic is something that can bring us all together. To share our experiences. To share resources that have been helpful. And to generally show a greater level of compassion and understanding to one another.”
Blue Voices are a diverse group of people who want to influence the development and innovation of mental health services, policies, and programs. Members have been affected by anxiety, depression or suicide – personally or through supporting someone like a family member, friend, student or colleague.
Please note that quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.