The last week of wild weather has done something that really hasn’t happened in our Cardinia Community since the bushfires at the end of 2019/start of 2020, but that is understandable to an extent (and I don’t mean the damage).
The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but unlike natural disasters that we can see and feel, Covid-19 and the actions taken to curb its effects have brought out the uglier side of many people, from pure selfishness to outright hatred and bigotry. It has also demonstrated in many ways just how lucky we really are to live where we do, and not under a real dictatorship where spouting anti-government views would see you beaten, locked up or just plain disappear.
This storm has put the best of people on show again. Endless offers of help and assistance, people giving up their time and energy to help because someone needed it. Our heroic SES, CFA and other volunteer services out putting their lives at risk, not for money, or profit, or their own gain, but for our community irrespective of race, gender, or religion.
This highlights another difference, of course – we have no obvious equivalent for the SES when it comes to the pandemic, and this lack of a focal point has potentially contributed to the negativity. (I am not discounting our wonderful health-care workers – absolutely not. But they have not and likely never will be held in the same light as the SES or CFA simply because they do not belong to a unified entity and thus do not get the same focus, even in times harder times).
This is also not to ignore the efforts of those individuals and groups who are always there, showing the way within our Cardinia Community, from Sammy’s Community Pantry through the Sikh Volunteers Australia to the local community groups and halls. In recent months, though, it has been easy to lose track of all they do in the flood of resentment coming from people being restricted.
The crisis that is the pandemic is more akin to the mental health issues we face, and the suicide of so many Australians. There is only so much that the government can do in each situation. The rest is up to us as individual members of the community. No matter what laws are passed, no matter what amount of money is invested, without each and every one of us standing up and working together – caring for each other – neither Covid nor mental health issues will ever be managed, much less resolved.
How can you help? In most cases, it’s ridiculously easy. And it will cost you less time and effort than spending a night in a storm ore fire risking your life to clear roads.
- Pay It Forward
- Do something little for someone you don’t know. Something thoughtful Something like this.
- Be Kind
- Take a moment to remember that you just don’t know where someone is coming from, and what you say or do can change the course of a life, for better or worse. Speaking and acting with kindness does not mean being a doormat, but a little bit of gentleness can get you – and whoever you’re interacting with – a long way.
- Don’t use social media to vent your frustration (yeah, I know, I know – I but live in hope)
- Seriously, just don’t. Unless you’re prepared to be dragged down to the level of those who just want to argue and trash talk, don’t take it to socials. Talk about it with your mates, friends, work colleagues, family, whoever you need to. Email or write to a politician. Contact a local action group. Make a phone call to your local member of parliament. Use social media to share the stories like the images above.
- Check on your friends
- No, really. Get off social media, and if you can’t go see them, pick up the phone and call them. Heck, even text them to see if they’re up for a call if you’re not sure. It’s really not hard. And if you know that someone who struggles with mental health issues, you might just save a life. You check on them in the event of a massive storm. You check on strangers in the same situation. This pandemic, mental health – they’re still a storm – you just can’t see them with your eyes. Check. On. Your. People. Our Cardinia Community.