Just ‘normal with problems’

Ashlea Boys has come forward to dispel some of the myths about mental illness. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d427065
Ashlea Boys has come forward to dispel some of the myths about mental illness. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d427065

Ms Boys has lived with mental illness since she was 14, when diagnosed with anorexia, and has since been diagnosed as having schizoaffective disorder.

She said she had learnt to manage her illness with the help of medication.

‘I think people need to know that just because you have a mental illness does not mean you are crazy or dangerous,’ Ms Boys said.

‘We are just like normal people and have a few problems. I don’t act crazy and have never been off my medication.’

Ms Boys is speaking out about her condition in order to raise awareness of mental illness as a part of Mental Health Week running from October 5 to 11.

Living at the St Bartholomew’s House-run facility Sunflower Villas in Stirling, Ms Boys said the support provided there meant she was able to live an independent life.

‘I used to live in hostels but that is very hard, as there was a lot of people I didn’t want on my doorstep and not a lot of support,’ she said.

‘The villas provide support and someone is always around to have a chat if you are feeling down or need some help.

‘I also go down to the Claremont Therapeutic Riding Centre, which I have always loved since I first started working there as a 16-year-old.’

Mental illness in Australia:
– Each year, one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness
– Anxiety disorders are most common, followed by affective disorders and then substance use disorders
– Women are more likely than men to seek help for anxiety and mood disorders