AS someone who regularly takes to the stage in front of people she has never met, Micaela Norcliffe appears to have all the confidence in the world.
But she wants others to know that is not always the case.
The Miss Australia International finalist is using the pageant to promote and educate others about the seriousness of mental health while also raising funds for beyondblue.
“I myself suffered from depression and still suffer from anxiety, but I have managed to fight hard to make it easier for me to be on a national stage in front of hundreds of people,” she said.
“I want others to know that it is possible to overcome mental illnesses.
“It can be hard but it is so worth it in the end.”
The 20-year-old Atwell resident said she had not known a life without anxiety.
Self harm is also something she has had to find support for.
“During high school I was quite unwell and missed a lot of school,” she said.
“With the anxiety I went over six months unable to work or go out on my own, trains were a no-no and even driving to my grandma’s house was hard.
“Everyone has their own journey but my message to others is please seek help.”
A recent survey of 1200 Australians found one in five Australians believe those experiencing anxiety put it on to avoid difficult situations.
But beyondblue chief executive Georgie Harman was encouraged 80 per cent of the people surveyed acknowledged it was a real condition.
“Anxiety is not just feeling stressed or worried, it is when these feelings don’t subside and are ongoing without any particular reason or cause,” she said.
“Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings can’t be easily controlled.”
The Miss Australia International finals are in Sydney in November
You can support Norcliffe with fundraising here.
For support visit beyondblue