Voice for mental illness sufferers at St Bart’s

Good friends Ambreen Munir and Peta Brown have both struggled with mental illness. d427054
Good friends Ambreen Munir and Peta Brown have both struggled with mental illness. d427054

With one in five Australian experiencing a mental illness, the week is about raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with people living a mental illness.

St Bart’s resident Peta Brown has struggled with mental illness her whole life.

She said Mental Health Week gave her a voice.

‘I lived in a black hole for a number of years and I find it very hard to communicate my illness to anyone,’ she said.

‘There was very little knowledge and now I’m on my way to recovery, leaving that black hole.’

Ms Brown said St Bart’s had given her confidence, but there was still a long way to go with the stigma she has had to live with.

‘I lived a lonely life. But through the support I got and lots of soul searching, I’m finally on the road to a positive future,’ she said.

St Bart’s will acknowledge the week through a Blue Day lunch or morning tea at each of its community-supported residential units.

Videos of residents sharing personal experiences will also be shared throughout different media channels, giving a face to people living with mental illness.

St Bartholomew’s House chief executive John Berger said St Bart’s Mental Health Support helped people with a mental illness through its community-supported residential and crisis accommodation units.

‘The cycle of mental illness and homelessness is a vicious one, with the treatment of mental illness becoming more difficult when a person is homeless or living in unstable housing,’ he said.

‘It’s vital that the Western Australian community gets behind those who are vulnerable and gives them the tools and support that they need to get back on their feet.’

To support St Bart’s, visit www.stbarts.org.au.