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Psychologist Kim Cullen understands exactly why mums around Australia have been so invested in Cleo’s disappearance over the past few weeks.

“Because it involved a vulnerable child. We feel a connected to a victim when there are similarities. We as mums have a lot of empathy, and we imagine what it would be like if it was our child,” she told 9Honey Parenting.

Cullen, who is a mum herself, has been following the search for Cleo closely and was hoping for a positive outcome.

“The loss of a child or someone taking your child – there is really just nothing worse,” she said.

“If you feel inclined to be more attentive to your child this morning, it’s certainly understandable”.

This morning I did just that. I gave my little boy – the one that kept me up all night – the biggest, longest hug I could. I told him he could call out for me at any time during the night, and I will be there.

I reminded myself how lucky I was to have him with me at home, safe and well.

Take the time to do this with your own kids today mums. I can only imagine Ellie is doing the same right now with her little Cleo.

The working parent juggle is nothing new – particularly for working mums. The tug between showing you’re putting in the hours at the office, only to miss out at home, can lead many to feel perpetually stretched thin.

What if there was another way to look at the situation – one where we replaced the guilt of not giving enough in the office with the acknowledgement of the added skill set parents bring to their professional lives? That instead of ruminating on what our kids miss out on, we focus on what they can gain.

Psychologist Kim Cullen says mums work smarter, are better able to focus in on tasks and have incredible time management and multitasking skills.

There are 13 psychosocial risk factors that impact on the health of a workplace and its staff, and the pandemic has highlighted just how important some of them are to us. While working from home has reduced the risk of some factors – environmental factors like noisy workplaces for example – it has exacerbated some other risk factors like job design. Workers feel safe when they feel connected to their leader and teammates, and when they have a sense of purposefulness, but these factors have been greatly impacted by lockdowns, restrictions, and working from home. Psychologist, Kim Cullen, explains how we can identify the psychosocial hazards that affect every worker, and why they’re an important piece in the puzzle of understanding how Covid is impacting our mental health.

Protests about mandatory vaccination for the construction sector in Melbourne this week got violent pretty quickly. The crowd wasn’t as large as other protests have been, so what made these turn from protest to riot so quickly? Kim Cullen is a psychologist and says it comes down to perceived injustice – in this case not being allowed to work and having the vaccine mandated – as well as being a rudderless crowd. Kim says the protestors didn’t appear to have a leader, and so there was no leader to communicate with and diffuse the situation through. With mounting testosterone in the crowd and an “us” and “them” mentality towards police, the risk of the protest getting violent increased. If protestors perceive an injustice, they need to nominate a leader if they want to achieve a meaningful outcome, Kim says.

It’s often said that you can see physical illness, but you can’t see mental illness. This is only half true. While you can’t always see the cause of mental illness, it’s possible to see signs that someone is suffering from it. Look for social withdrawal, poor concentration, prolonged sadness, changes in mood, behaviour, and mannerisms. Ask yourself “How does this person behave when they’re happy compared to how they’re behaving now?” From there, start a conversation. If you’re not sure how, the best advice is to be direct. Mental health conversations don’t need to be subtle. You can simply say “I’ve noticed you’re not your usual self (give examples), what’s happening with you right now?” Don’t worry if you don’t have a solution, it’s more about trying to understand what they’re experiencing, listening without judgement, and making sure they know they’re not alone. When in doubt, try “Let’s find the help you need together”.