10 October 2019, Adelaide – The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Do you see what I see?’, with the aim to:
- Challenge negative perceptions of mental health.
- Encourage people to shine a positive light on mental health.
- Make a way for people to seek the support they need.
At batyr, we want to amplify the voices of young people in order to smash mental health stigma and increase help-seeking rates in Australia. It has been proven that sharing lived experience stories is the most effective way to change negative perceptions of mental health.
Brahdilleone shares his mental health journey and talks about what World Mental Health Day means to them.
From a young age I was bullied for my looks, made fun of, and this caused my mental health to not be in a good spot when I was at my most vulnerable.
Whenever I spoke to my school friends at a young age, they’d often tell me to get over it, so I often kept my struggles to myself causing the issues to compound until eventually they exploded and I broke down.
Thankfully, with the support of my mum, new friends, headspace and my partner, I was able to get my mental health back on track and now I’m able to enjoy my life.
I still have struggles with my mental health but now I know how I can go about looking after myself.
What do you wish someone knew about what you were going through?
Just how much a few simple words could have helped, something as simple as, “I can’t even imagine what you’re going through, it sounds incredibly difficult, but you are so brave to continue to fight, thank you for telling me about how you are feeling, I’m here for you.”
Tell us about a moment or conversation you had that ‘shone a light’ on the challenges you were facing and encouraged you to reach out. What was that moment like?
My mental health had plummeted and it was a conversation with my mum that finally encouraged me to get help from headspace and to set up a mental health plan with my doctor.
It was such a great feeling knowing that finally, after all these years, something is going to be done and that I’ll start to feel more like Brahdilleone instead of anxiety and depression.
How do you challenge misconceptions about mental health and encourage positive conversations?
The best way to challenge misconceptions is by facing them head on, it’s a bit drastic but if at any time I hear people dismissing mental health issues as anything but legitimate, I make sure to inform them that what’s going on is real and shouldn’t be taken lightly and “getting over it” isn’t good advice, the same way you wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to get over it, because sometimes your leg hurts too.
I encourage positive conversations by sharing my story through places like headspace, batyr and at my place of employment and accept others who are also going through difficult times with their mental health and inform them of their available options so that they can be the best versions of themselves too.
What is your pledge for Mental Health Month?
Check in with my friends who I haven’t spoken to in a while and see how they’re doing.
It can be difficult to reach out and ask for help and, oftentimes, all people need is a genuine inquiry into their wellbeing, not a simple, “How are you?” but a conversation as to whether they’re ok.
If this story has brought up strong feelings for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.