I just had a really long chat with my elderly neighbour, Pat. It started with her wanting to let me know she’d been having visits from a mental health social worker, so that I wouldn’t worry about the stranger who had been stopping by her house.
Honestly, I hadn’t actually noticed and probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it. But it’s still good that she told me, because now I can keep an extra eye out for her wellbeing. Apparently, she’s been having some troubles in maneuvering the system to obtain her pension payments, largely on account of being unable to hear over the phone. This had resulted in some stressful financial difficulties, until the problem was recently corrected.
I asked her why on earth she hadn’t asked me for help with the paperwork, to which she said that she hadn’t wanted to trouble me. I guess she knows that I’ve been dealing with a some significant stress of my own, for which I’m having psychiatric treatment. Mornington is not the worst place to experience a mental health breakdown, for what it’s worth. Not that any place is exactly fantastic for it, but at least I have access to high quality mental health clinics and services.
As it turns out, Pat was referred to the social worker by her mobile GP. Her two daughters both live overseas, and evidently didn’t realise the extent of the issues. Although the daughters are in regular contact with their mum and make yearly visits to Mornington, psychology and allied health support arrangements evidently aren’t at the top of Pat’s list of favoured things to talk about.
I reckon it’s that thing of not wanting to ‘trouble’ anyone. Having met Pat’s relatives, I’d be amazed if they saw it that way, but I suppose Pat’s of a generation that believed in getting on with things and not causing a fuss. In some cases, though, there’s a surprisingly simple fix for things that are standing in the way of wellbeing – like signing up for professional support.