"Why can't we just be kind to one another?"
That's the question Lynda Lane still ponders to this day, even after having worked as a mental health social worker at Griffith Neighbourhood House for the past three years.
Over that time she's seen her referrals go "off the charts" as more people come to her with depression and anxiety.
"There's lots of people that are struggling, and it's really heartbreaking," Ms Lane said.
She's struggling to keep up with the desperate level of need, and she's currently fully booked out until July.
Ms Lane says other mental health services are in much the same boat; she says there are "fantastic" mental health services in Griffith but simply not enough of them to keep up with the demand.
Yet Ms Lane still sees a silver lining in all of this; she says it means people are more willing to open up and seek help.
Particularly she sees more men coming forward, which was less common when she first started. Male stigma around mental health made men reluctant to seek professional help, but she says these days the numbers of men and women are evening out.
"It is so positive and refreshing to see men taking charge of their mental health and wellbeing and having conversations around managing life changes, emotions, stress and relationships," Ms Lane said.
"Mental health and illness effects everyone and it is up to you to nurture your own positive and healthy coping skills - and to help those around us."
She's calling on local businesses to provide better mental health services in the workplace, which she says makes a world of difference to the emotional bottom line.
She's encouraging business owners to offer Employee Assistance Programs as well as other services to protect the employees, which she considers to be a business's most important resource.
She says her own work can be tough on her mental health at times, but she says she wouldn't trade it for the world.
"If it weren't for my role, I would not get to have these important conversations with these incredible people," she said.
Mental health is everyone's responsibility, she says; we must be kind to ourselves but it's just as important to be kind to one another.
"We never know the depths of what others are facing - it is crucial to be kind, to not judge and to connect with yourself and your community," she said.
If you're struggling with depression or anxiety you can call Lynda Lane on 0476 003 603 or headspace Griffith on 6962 3277.
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