Top tips to boost mental health

Lives Lived Well's Gemma Danahay and Andrew Saal at the Mental Health Community BBQ in Kingaroy. PICTURE: Jessica McGrath 367522_02

A South Burnett mental health coach shares her tips to navigating everyday life stress.

NewAccess Mental Health Coach Gemma Danahay, who works with Lives Lived Well in Kingaroy, shared her tips in time for World Mental Health Day on 10 October and Queensland Mental Health Week from 7 to 15 October.

Ms Danahay supports people using a low intensity CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy coaching program, developed by Beyond Blue.

“More and more people are coming to me due to financial stress, as cost of living pressures escalate. The other main issues are relationship problems, work stresses, and grief and loss and sudden life changes,” Ms Danahay said.

Ms Danahay was with her Lives Lived Well colleague Andrew Saal at the Kingaroy Community barbeque last Thursday, 12 October chatting to community members at their stall.

“I have found many people are looking for more than just someone to talk to, they want to walk away with practical suggestions. In mental health coaching, people receive proactive skills and tools to work on the problems affecting their mental health,” she said.

Here are five practical coaching tips to help relieve stresses that can build up.

1. Deal with problems one at a time – breakdown problems into bite-size pieces

2. Notice common thinking traps – all or nothing thinking, self-blame, repetitive thinking

3. Have realistic goals – make it achievable, it doesn’t have to be perfect

4. Balance is key – schedule pleasurable activities as well as work/family commitments

5. Healthy habits – keep both body and mind healthy

“Part of coaching is also around relapse prevention, so any dips in mood are an opportunity to explore early warning signs and what helps the person feel better so that they know what to do with any future drops on the roller coaster of life,” Ms Danahay said.

Beyond Blue’s lead clinician Dr Grant Blashki said there were multiple benefits to using low intensity CBT and problem solving to support our mental health.

“These techniques are based on evidence and are shown to improve clinical outcomes for common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. People who are using the skills are often able to reduce their negative thinking patterns, the severity of their symptoms, and find that they develop new coping skills that they can apply to other problems in their lives,” Dr Blashki said.

“A structured approach helps people to stay focused on their goals and people often come away feeling quite empowered that they have some new strategies to manage common stresses in life.

“An added benefit is these are skills that are useful in relationships, in parenting, and even in a workplace context and help people to be able to zoom out and look at thoughts, feelings and actions in day-to-day situations.”

Developed by Beyond Blue in 2013, NewAccess provides support for mild to moderate anxiety, depression, and life stresses, using specially trained and clinically supervised mental health coaches. It’s free and doesn’t require a GP referral.

“Mental health coaching is a valuable low intensity support option that helps people with every day common stresses and mental health issues before they develop into more severe mental health issues,” Dr Blashki said.

“When it comes to reforming Australia’s mental health system, low intensity options are a critical piece of the puzzle.”

Find out more about New Access here:

Or Beyond Blue Support Service: 1300 22 4636 or