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By Jess Campbell for CQ Australia

We make time for our fitness routines each day, so why aren’t we also prioritising our mental health?

Ask any athlete how they maintain motivation and peak physical fitness, and most will talk about the importance of establishing a routine. Much like your favourite sporting stars detest uncertainty, you need only examine recent events of 2020 to discover the same can be said for our mental state. From catastrophic bushfires to the forced lockdown of COVID-19, countless Australians are still grappling with the loss of business, family homes, and even loved ones. And while many of us now scramble to find our footing in a rapidly changing society, if one thing has come from the Great Garbage Fire that is 2020, it’s that conversations around mental health have quite rightfully been thrust into the spotlight.

Health officials have been quick to inform us that we’re living through a “social recession”, and while the physical effects of COVID-19 can’t be underestimated, the same can be said for its psychological impact. But times of turmoil are also catalysts for change. Gyms were quick to pivot to streaming services and workout apps, while workplaces came to embrace new technology and the Zoom video call. Such developments were quick to be adopted by the public, but the very action of doing so also seemed to stress a rather startling revelation that although we continue to take our physical health seriously, we don’t prioritise our mental health. It’s something Dr Kieran Kennedy is all too familiar with from his line of work as a neuropsychiatry resident and mental health specialist. It’s also something Dr Kennedy is seeking to change.

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