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Wear sunscreen. Tuesday May 7, 2013

In a few days' time the Australian director Baz Luhrmann's new movie 'The Great Gatsby' will premiere at the Cannes film festival. Often described as a maverick, Luhrmann also directed 'Strictly Ballroom', 'Romeo + Juliet' and 'Moulin Rouge!'. The critics are saying good things about his new film.

Often forgotten, though, is that Baz Luhrmann was also responsible for producing the quirky 90s hit record 'Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)', an entertaining 'commencement speech' actually written as an advice column by a Chicago journalist.

I'm sure you'll know it, but whether you do or not, it's worth checking out YouTube for either a reminder or an introduction. Essentially, a wise male narrator reads a long list of advice for young people - things like 'Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements', 'Do one thing everyday that scares you' and - of course - 'Wear sunscreen'.

What resonates with me most about the song is the very idea of being sure to keep learning, and to do so each and every day.

When our emotional weather is good, I think we all like to acquire new knowledge. We like to be surprised, we enjoy being amazed, we're excited by new ideas. On a bleaker day, however, our appetite for everything can be diminished. We may find we're off our food, just as we lose our hunger for new ideas.

But learning is a great example of what I like to think is one of those 'what came first, the chicken or the egg' principles in mental wellbeing, for while it's certainly true that we like to learn when we feel good, it can also work in reverse: you can make yourself feel good by learning.

As I prepare to pass the baton over to the Moodscope Team in a couple of days' time, it's tempting to want to leave you with advice - and if I did, I'm sure that 'keep learning' would be one of my themes. But (a) I'm sure you already know this, and (b) although I'm leaving Moodscope, I hope you'll leave me your email address (and get a free ebook) at my website - so we'll still be in touch:

Whatever you think of my suggestions, however, I'm sure Baz Luhrmann was right about one thing. Sunscreen. Definitely.

As it's likely that Moodscopers will want to comment on this, and also highly probable that our email In-Boxes will be pretty busy, I'll be eternally grateful if thoughts, reflections and questions could be directed to our Blogspot:

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DIANA Tue, May 7th 2013 @ 7:20am

I managed without sunscreen for 10 minutes while sitting in the sunshine
yesterday, so theeere ! However any longer.....and I think you are quite right,
'Oh wise one '

Bill Andrews Tue, May 7th 2013 @ 8:05am

As these days slip away until you go I'm left wondering how Moodscope will be without you there as your blogs are such an integral part of Moodscope as so many have testified. But then I think, well, ideas are greater than the people who created them. They have a life of their own and of course this idea you created can live on and grow and develop too, like any living entity.

What I think, for me, has been so appealing about Moodscope is the absence of the usual 'expert' mental health professional. The idea that folk can support each other through their own experience and through sharing their own solutions is a great one. There is so much argument and debate in the Mental Health field about what constitutes good evidence of effective treatment and this has had major impact on they types of treatment that gets funded. But we rarely get to hear from the recipients of treatment about what it has been like from their point of view. No doubt many surprises would be in store for Mental Health professionals with such feedback, some of it excellent and some of it less so.

I wish you well Jon and want to say thanks for all you have done and given and all you will continue to do. I want to also say thanks to everyone else in the team who have contributed to making it all happen and will continue to do so.


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