This week is Mental Health Week and what better time to turn our thoughts and awareness to something a lot closer to many of us than we care to admit.

Tuning into the HACK program on Triple J I wasn’t that surprised to hear that nearly half of the Australian population will experience a mental disorder at some stage in their lives and that one in five will suffer each year.

Undoubtedly, going through a relationship breakdown is one of the most disruptive, emotionally taxing and often debilitating experiences. I once read a wonderful article about ‘the second heart’, which describes the necessity for one to have two hearts because it is impossible for the one heart to continue beating whilst feeling so torn and broken at the same time.

Whether separation is forced upon you, you have chosen to end the relationship or it is a matter of circumstance, it’s tough. When there are children involved you don’t get the luxury of grieving like you might desperately want to. And you still need to keep the financial administration in your life ticking over.

So what do you do, how do you cope?

As with all things, many hands make light work; you need a support team around you to lighten your load. Working only with a lawyer can be a dangerous trap; we may be good at listening and sound like we say the right things but we aren’t qualified to know how to look after your mental health.

Ideally, on your team you should have

  • Someone to look after your mental health; a counsellor or psychologist;
  • Someone to look after your psychical health; your GP or dietitian;
  • Someone to look after your financial health; a financial planner; and
  • Someone to navigate you legally through your separation; a family lawyer.

So if you are going through a relationship breakdown, use this week to reflect on who is in your team and who else you need. If you’re unsure, let us know, we can point you in the right direction!

Iveta Bales

Iveta Bales