Life is only as Good as your Mindset
WELCOME TO HMHFUTURE
Healthy Mind Healthy Future was created in 2016 by Stuart Rawlins to simply help others through life’s tough times, with a particular focus on Mental Health and Unemployment.
Stuart’s passion to help individuals and businesses in these two areas was born through his own lived experiences, triumphs and challenges.
From being selected as a Detective to work as a part of the principle investigative team on Qld’s largest ever murder investigation (Daniel Morcombe) to being unemployed for 10 months while he battled with is mental health, Stuart has the firsthand knowledge to help you, your organisation or your students get through those tough times in life.
Focus only on things and people
in Your Life That Matter!
Stuart is an experienced speaker who has presented to small and large groups and achieves a real connection with the audience through real life stories.
As a caring coach and mentor, Stuart can provide assistance to really make a difference in peoples lives – it is his passion.
Sometimes all you need is a nudge in the right direction or another point of view to clarify a choice or solve a problem. Get in touch online if you are more comfortable with this approach.
What people say about us. Here are comments from individuals who have visited HMHFuture.
People have not stopped talking about Stuart’s story and how he navigated his way through his own journey with PTSD and Mental Health issues. He has literally brought the stigma of Mental Health and PTSD right out of the box and in doing so is setting others free to also talk about their pain and move into a place of healing themselves.
Stuart Rawlins has been a lifeline for me and provided me with amazing and unconditional help.
I was at a very low point in my life after applying for over 4000 jobs in various sectors. It was hard as I have been in safety for over 19 years. Stuart has been consistently responsive in understanding how hard it has been.
I felt like I was drowning unable to get any form of work and the need to find work got increasingly frustrating after being unemployed for over 2 years. I have never been unemployed for that long in my working life ever.
For Stuart to come along when he did and to demonstrate a strong skill set and knowledge of understanding and drive to help a total stranger from a post that I had put up on Facebook about the difficulties about finding work was amazing.
Stuart has taken the time to carefully help me and even contacted his professional contacts to help me gain employment again, his care for others is unquestionable. He stayed in touch on a regular basis to make sure that I was following his guidelines to secure my next position, my next career. I couldn’t be more pleased and happy with the relationship that I have developed with Stuart and looking forward to it growing over time.
Once again Thank you Stuart to the time you took out of your life to help me in my situation.
“Stuart has been a friend of mine for about 7 years. He has known me at my lowest of times, and now at my best frame of mind.
His articles on Mental Health hit home time and again. And I realise how even when I thought I’d come through my own anxiety and depression, there was still more sorting to do.
Stuart speaks from personal experience, and has come out the other side with a positive and healthy outlook on life. We don’t often think about the traumas inflicted on our emergency services personnel – what they witness day after day in their occupations I cannot imagine.
Thank you Stuart for all you are giving back to your and our community. You are a wonderful, caring and selfless human”.
Teachers are great at delivering curriculum and parents are fantastic at moulding students into responsible young men and women. But how do you train a child to respond to those more difficult questions in life, often the things that they simply shouldn’t have to deal with but more often than not they have to. That is why our College had Kerrie Atherton from Empower Life Solutions and Stuart Rawlins from Healthy Mind, Healthy Future present a program to our Year 10 and Year 11 students called “What would you do if…”
Kerrie is a counsellor with a wide range of experience and who has a personal story of her own that demonstrates how someone can overcome serious life problems. Stuart has worked in the Police Force and has the expertise to address a range of issues and questions that young people have. Kerrie and Stuart presented a range of scenarios to the students and they were presented with the question “What would you do if…” From the feedback we received, the students found the program very helpful and informative.
They were provided with a whole range of strategies to help them think through how they should act when confronted with that social problem that no one else seems to discuss with them. I encourage parents and teachers to find out more about this program as it is extremely helpful to young people today.
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Whichever specific health issue you’re currently facing, we’ll be more than glad to give you a pre-appointment, free consultation on it!
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Tracking down armed robbers can be a painstaking challenge for Police, not only because their nearly always armed and dangerous, but they often don’t spend too long in the same hideout.
As a 24-year-old Constable with about two years in the job I was lucky enough to secure some relieving the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB). For me I joined the Police Service in 1997 with the sole intent of becoming a Detective, so I was super stoked getting some time relieving in that area so early in my service.
The hunt was on! We had a fit young armed robber who was running around with a sawn-off shotgun. Hiding out at different houses constantly, his location was hard to pin down.
One thing we knew was that wherever his girlfriend was he would be!
Then the intel came in, his girlfriend was at a house in Deception Bay.
We all kitted up and off we went, almost certain that if she was there he would be there. As we secured the outside and then moved into the house the search began. With the occupants protesting that neither of them was there our initial search drew a blank, that was until we tried to open the man hole cover.
Pushing up on the man hole cover it was obvious that there was either something or someone up in the roof pushing down on the cover. Knowing if he was up there he would be armed we drew our guns and the demands to come down were yelled loud and clear over and over again.
The situation was tense, not knowing if shotgun blasts were going to start coming down through the ceiling at us. The yelling got louder and louder requesting the person or people up there to surrender and come down.
After what felt like an eternity we heard a female voice say she was coming down. This is it I thought, if she is there, he is up there somewhere, and he will be armed. To say the situation was tense is an understatement.
After we got her down she protested that he was not up there and that she was alone. Not believing her story someone had to get up through the man hole and search the roof.
Being the youngest of the four of us by far I was soon thrown up into the roof space to search for the armed robber. My heart was in my mouth, I had my gun in one hand and a torch in the other as I started creeping my way around in the pitch-black roof space, secretly hoping he wasn’t in there.
I can remember that the roof space was covered in insulation, you know the type that looks like shredded cardboard and is normally sprayed into the roof through a large hose. It also had a massive beam that ran the length of the ceiling and was much higher than any of the other beams.
As I crept around I can tell you I was sh*t scared, sh*t scared that I was going to find him and get shot in the process.
Creeping from beam to beam listening and looking for any small bit of movement was a feeling I hadn’t previously experienced.
After looking everywhere, I could and not finding him in the pitch-black ceiling so I got back down and off we went.
That was it, we didn’t manage to find him during my 3-month relieving in the CIB and I headed back to uniform duties. It wasn’t until a few months later that things changed. I headed over to the watchhouse to assist with feeding the people who were in custody.
As I was handing out the meals to the people in custody (watchhouse) a young, fit and muscled up bloke piped up and said, ‘I know you’. Looking at him I couldn’t for the life of me think where from.
He then said proceeded to tell me that I was the one who was up in the roof space months earlier searching for him, and that he recognized me by my voice.
He then went on to tell me that whilst his girlfriend pressed her foot down on the man hole cover to prevent us lifting it that he laid on the floor of the roof on one side of the large beam and completely covered himself with the shredded insulation material.
He then boasted that at the time he was holding a loaded shotgun on his chest and told me that he would have used it on me if I had managed to find him that day.
Hearing those words at the age of 24 is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Sometimes people think chasing armed robbers is like you see on TV, but in reality, it is hard, long and dangerous work which involves confronting people who have little to no regard for the life of a Police Officer.
In recent years we have unfortunately lost a number of great officers in the pursuit of armed offenders. The feeling of willingly going into places like dark roof spaces searching for armed offenders is a feeling that is really hard to put into words, and one that is lost on the greater majority of society.
The stress that these high-risk activities place on the mental health of Police Officers is massive, and for some it can be an activity that is frequently repeated throughout their entire Policing career.
I know firsthand how this, and other similar incidents can affect your mental health, had I had the courage to speak up earlier about my personal mental health struggles from incidents like this, things may have been different.
If you are an emergency service worker and are exposed to incidents like this or if you are the partner of one, take it from someone who has been through it, these incidents affect those who are exposed to them.
It may not be straight away but over time the effects compound and if they are not treated they can have devastating effects on people’s mental health.
SPEAK UP AND ASK FOR SOME HELP!
To my former family in blue and other first responders I urge you to start a conversation with that one person you feel comfortable talking with about what you are exposed to whilst at work.
If you are lucky enough to be that trusted person being told this type of information, just simply listen. Intently listening and allowing that person to open up does more good then you could ever imagine.
Together we can make a difference in improving the mental health of our emergency service workers if we can first understand what they have to go through on any given day to keep the rest of society safe.
Healthy Mind Healthy Future
Mental Health & Employment | Educator |Speaker |Coach
When was the last time you ‘paid it forward’, ‘gave back’ or went out of your way to ‘help someone out’?
Well mine was on Thursday night 26th April when I hosted a ‘Men’s Only Mental Health Night’ in my local community.
The event did not sell anything, cost anything or preach anything; it simply created a safe environment where men could come along and hear from a few other blokes on how they have got through some tough times and how although those times were very challenging they managed to get through them and get on with life.
You see, for me volunteering and talking about my ‘lived experience‘ with mental health in order to hopefully help others actually also helps me feel better!
I am sure you may have heard about the benefits that volunteering has for our communities, particularly for those in our community who are in need of a hand up, but the benefits of volunteering or giving back for the person doing the giving is just as significant.
‘Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give’. Ben Carson
I first experienced the benefits of volunteering about three years ago when I started to volunteer once at week at my local Salvation Army when I came across an article in the paper about a schooling program (SCILS) for at risk kids that was being run at our local Salvation Army.
Not knowing if I could help out I simply turned up and offered to volunteer with doing resumes for the kids for free along with assisting one-on-one with their schooling lessons.
So off we went, once a week I would attend for an hour or so and act like a private tutor helping out with assignments, Maths and English lessons. Then one day one of the young girls asked If I would help her with a resume!
We made a deal, if she answered all of my questions I would write a complete resume for her, printout some copies on nice paper, and also put it on a memory stick for her. It took a few versions but we got it sorted and off she went with her new resume package.
The feeling of helping someone out made me feel alive inside, it also helped with my anxiety and depression as it gave me a feeling of purpose and of being needed. I had a skill that I could use to help someone else out and hopefully make a difference in their life. To my surprise within a week the young girl had secured two jobs using her new resume, attitude and good old determination.
Each week I looked forward to my time with the kids, it allowed me to zone out of the other things in my life that were causing me stress. I would leave my sessions with the kids feeling relaxed, destressed and with an overall sense of calm.
Don’t just take my word for it, the Curtin University in Western Australia has published a report on ‘Volunteering for Happiness and Health’. Amongst other benefits the report stated that ‘61% of people who volunteer at least 5 times a year say volunteer work helps them feel less stressed’ and ‘volunteering presents a beneficial effect on depressive symptoms’.
A recent article published by ableto.com in March 2018 identified the below 7 mental health benefits of volunteering:
- Reduces stress
- Combats depression
- Prevents feelings of isolation
- Increases confidence
- Gives a sense of purpose and meaning
- Ignites passion
- Makes you happy
Giving Back is something that we can all do and the benefits are not limited to the people receiving the help!
So if you are struggling with ways to maintain or improve your mental health or simply have some spare time go out and do some volunteer work.
Your mental health and the community will both benefit from it.
Healthy Mind Healthy Future
Mental Health & Employment | Educator |Speaker |Coach
This article refers to a time in 2010 and 2011 when I didn’t work for a ten month period whilst I dealt with a number of mental health conditions.
It also goes through how 8 weeks of ‘work experience‘ changed my life and improved my mental health.
During the ten months of not working I watched our bank balance getting lower and lower, believe me this is a good motivator to get back to work even when you are struggling with a number of mental health conditions.
I can remember thinking how can the meager WorkCover benefits I am receiving go down even further? I asked the consultant on the other end of the phone, how are we supposed to survive on this amount of money?
It was then I was reminded that WorkCover like most other benefits of its type are a mere stop-gap measure. Designed to sustain you until you can find your way back into the world of employment.
I can remember asking myself questions such as ‘What would I do, Who would want to take on a burnt out ex-detective who was still recovering from a number of mental health conditions?‘.
I must admit sitting at home for ten months had served its purpose. I had come to grips with and finally accepted that I was suffering from a number of mental health conditions. I also got myself to a position where I sought and found the right type of treatment that had started to get me going in the right direction back to better health and some form of normality.
So I made the call to my WorkCover case worker and told her something that I don’t think she had heard in quite a while. I told her I felt like I could go back to work, I didn’t know what type of work but I felt I was strong enough mentally to get back into something.
Inside I felt and knew I just needed it. I needed that feeling of getting up with a purpose everyday.
With a referral to an external company to see an Occupational Therapist who specialised in getting people like me back into the workforce I was one step closer to hopefully getting my life back on track.
On my first visit I mustered all of my courage and simply told him, I knew I couldn’t be a Police Officer anymore, those days were gone. But I felt it was time for me to get back to work and once again contribute to society and provide for my family.
That first visit was as scary as hell, putting myself out there for the first time since being off work, but I can tell you it was well worth it.
After getting professional medical treatment and assistance during my time away from the working world this activity was the next major step in my journey back to some type of normality.
I can still remember doing a barrage of questionnaires about my likes, dislikes, skills and qualifications to try to narrow down what I could and couldn’t do.
The consultant advised that I would hopefully get some ‘Host Employment‘ somewhere for 6 – 8 weeks and that if I showed that I had the capacity and ability to work that my benefits would be ceased at the end of that time.
This was irrespective of me attaining any paid work from the host employer at the end of that period.
WOW this certainly challenged me mentally once again.
Six to eight weeks of work experience so-to-speak and then irrespective of the outcome my benefits would be stopped. Talk about a motivator to find the right place and work my guts out hoping that they would give me a job at the end of it, or at least I could gain some new skills to help me get a job somewhere else.
I had been applying for jobs with no success for the previous few months whilst I was un-well. This was when I realised that I had just been throwing my same resume and covering letter at every job. Hoping the companies and recruiters would see that although I hadn’t addressed what they wanted for their candidate, I was still the right person for the job.
Take from me……… This approach does not work!
So off we went! The consultant started shopping my resume around to different companies. The carrot for the employer was that they did not have to pay me as I would still be receiving my benefits from WorkCover during this time.
After a few inquiries my lucky break came, a company who had taken a person previously on host employment agreed to meet with the consultant and myself to discuss some options. I was so excited and scared at the same time as I knew that if I started there that my benefits would be stopped in 6 – 8 weeks.
It was like I was entering the workforce for the very first time…. again!
After a quick meeting the company representative agreed to take me on and advised me that I would do some special projects for him and simply help out in the safety department.
This meeting triggered some not-so-nice thoughts inside me as well, but I knew I had to work through them, I just had to. Thoughts like what would I say when people asked why I was there, what would the manager tell other people I was doing, what if I wasn’t up to it?
This is when I used some coping mechanisms taught to me by my treating psychologist. Things like:
- Positive Psychology (focusing on the things I could do rather than what I could not)
- Increasing my amount of exercise, intense exercise
- Talking to my wife and psychologist about my journey ahead and how to get through it
- Chunking it all down into small pieces (Taking it one day at a time, one task at a time, one little task)
- Having ‘My story’ sorted and in place so I could answer any of those uncomfortable questions if asked
I didn’t know it at the time but getting back into the workforce even in a work-experience context was satisfying some of the 6 x basic needs in life.
You see it is said that we all have 6 x basic needs in life. These 6 x needs are what make us tick and are made up of the below factors:
- Love & Connection
Even though it was my previous work that caused my mental health conditions, it was work that I was actually craving.
I was missing that sense of certainty that comes with a steady paying job, knowing when and what I was getting paid so we could plan for the future, or at least the next power bill!
I was also missing the sense of significance that comes with getting up everyday and going to work. The inner feeling that also comes with being a valued part of a team and getting that sense of meaning and purpose was something that I was craving. I wanted to belong!
You see although I needed time out from the working world to heal I realised that I also needed work once again as a part of my recovery process. I needed work to close that loop that would see me re-enter society and feel like I had a purpose in life again (Contribution).
How did it all go?
Well after overcoming my fears of what people would think and how I would answer, it actually went very well. I stuck to my plan and once again felt like I was part of society, like I was contributing to something.
It also provided me with an answer to that dreadful question we get asked when we bump into friends or acquaintances at the plaza or BBQ.
You know the one that starts with ‘So what are you doing these days?‘.
It allowed me answer that question with my own slight variance of ‘I am just doing some contract work for…..’
That eight weeks made me feel half human again, I got up with a purpose every day for the first time in ten months. I made every day count and gave my all.
The end result was that I was offered a full time job at the end of that eight weeks and kissed my life of living on WorkCover benefits goodbye.
It was a major turning point in my recovery and journey back to better health. It also taught me a number of things that I now value very much, things like:
What you do for work does not define who you are in life, how you treat others does. Remember kindness costs nothing!
The importance of keeping an open mind when it comes to opportunities, because where one door closes another will often open
Have a red hot GO, even if you are crapping yourself and full of self-doubt. Just break it all down to little steps and keep moving forward, keep getting up out of that bed every day. You will surprise yourself with what you are capable of
Never underestimate the value of work of any kind, paid or free. The sense and feeling of belonging, certainty and contribution is more important than most realise
Everybody goes through struggles in life, some more than others but we all do. What matters is your resilience and tenacity to keep moving in a forward direction. The tough times won’t last forever and you will get through them
If you are already in work remember you can improve your mental health by giving back. By doing volunteer or community work and giving back to those in need, can give you a great sense of well being and achievement.
If you are unemployed liaise with Centrelink, Employment Agencies or simply get your resume together and get out there and walk into some businesses and ask to do some free work-experience. Go-on give it a crack!
Remember never underestimate the importance of work, paid or free and what it can do for your health, the community and your inner-self.
Healthy Mind Healthy Future
Mental Health & Employment | Educator |Speaker |Coach