Sunday, 18 September 2016

Lifting the Lid on Mental Health

A few months ago I got a message from someone I know, asking me if I would be able to meet up as he had something to chat to me about.  Rob is a social worker at our local hospital and is one of the organisers of events for Mental Health Week.   We met up and I was very curious to see what he wanted to talk about, and was very shocked when he asked me if I would participate as a guest panelist in a forum that they were wanting to hold during Mental Health Week.
After he explained what it was all about I agreed very nervously to be on it.  I'm not a public speaker at all, and the other panelists are all professionals so I'm feeling a little out of place with them, but he assured me that it would be a good balance having us all on there together and reminded me I would only be talking about what I have experienced myself.   To be honest he did actually promise me that he would try to get Hodgey to be a panelist as well, and I jokingly requested payment of a new car and a trip to the USA, but unfortunately he hasn't come through with the goods yet! :)  The forum is a Q&A type event and is going to be held on Monday 10th October.  It is free and open to everyone to come along.

I'm not sure if I have much to offer, but with the other panelists it should be a really interesting night. 

The other panelists are: Special Guest, Dr. Mark Cross, psychiatrist, senior lecturer at UNSW, author of book "Changing Minds, The Go-To Guide to Mental Health for You, Family and Friends". He was also on a three part documentary on the ABC which was also called 'Changing Minds'.

Michael Bailey, Chief Executive Officer, Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and

Dr. Judith Watson, Launceston family practice GP, Health Council of Tasmania member, Tasmanian Health Service Governing Council member, and the current Chair of Primary Health Tasmania.

There are other people working behind the scenes to help make it a really successful event, and our friend Alison was approached to take on the social media and to be the official photographer.  She has been very busy taking photos of locals and sharing their stories of mental health on a Facebook page that has been set up.  You can read the stories and find out more information about the forum on the page here.  

The boys and I are all going to share a very short version of our mental health story on the page, and so far Jalen's and mine has been posted on the page. Jay wrote his on his own and I was very proud that he was able to be so open and share a little bit of what he's been through in the past five years.  It's never easy to admit that you have mental health problems, especially when you're a teenager, but we hope by sharing our stories that it may let others know that they aren't alone if they are experiencing mental health issues.

You can read Jalen's post here.
My post is here.
Kobe and Harri's posts will be put up sometime soon, so like the Facebook page and keep following for other mental health stories, including theirs.

Share the word and come along on Monday 10th October if you are able to. It should be a really informative night whether you are experiencing mental health issues yourself or know of someone who is.  I'm sure I'll learn a lot myself.

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