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Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

What is your experience of navigating the mental health system?

I have both professional and lived experience of navigating the mental health system. My journey with mental health started when I was 12 years old. At the time my main supports were my family, and a school counsellor.

 

I really struggled to make sense of what was happening and really had no idea was services were available to help me. Over the course of three years, my health got worse and it became clear that I needed a lot more support than I was getting. My first stop was my GP who did a mental health care plan, and referred me to see a psychologist and psychiatrist.

 

Over the years I saw many different services, bouncing between the public and private sector, with my family really helping to navigate it with me. I found there were some gaps for me between accessing services, where I was waiting quite a while for support, or wasn’t getting the level of support I needed. Over the years I have become better at asking for what I need and learnt more about what I could access which gave me a strong sense of choice and empowerment!

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

When I hit 16, I decided that something needed to be done and I took those experiences of navigating the mental health system and went to work in the mental health sector in the hope that maybe I could change another young person’s experience so they didn’t experience the gaps that I did Heart

 

Over a decade I have seen the mental health system become much better at talking within itself, and more and more pathways to get the right support at the right time! There is still a long way to go, but now I can use my experience to help others navigate the mental health system, which is what led me to peer support and eventually to ReachOut! I hope that tonight I can share my experiences and understanding of the health system! And I encourage you to share yours Heart

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

So excited for this chat! Smiley Happy

@Jess1-RO  I think it's great how you have used your lived experience to help and advocate for others. Heart

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

@Jess1-RO that's really amazing that you've taken your experiences and struggles and used them to help others in a similar position, so they don't come across the same barriers! Heart What kind of work did you first do if you don't mind my asking? Smiley Happy




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We had a live chat on Accessing Mental Health Support Online! Smiley Very Happy Check it out here! Heart

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

Thank you @WheresMySquishy and @ecla34 Heart I see our moderators and builders team also use their lived experience to support others every day- it is incredible! I really believe it is lived experience that is going to shape the future of the mental health system!

 

Great question @ecla34! So I started by writing a letter to my local service about where I thought the gaps were. From there I was invited to share my story with staff so they could understand the huge benefits that accessing mental health support can have, but also where they could improve. I sat on committees to represent young people, and volunteered with Beyondblue to share my story in schools and universities Smiley Happy Not a pathway I had planned, but one that has give me a strong sense of purpose!

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

 


Possessed Strong Woman GIF

 

Thank you so much for sharing that with us all @Jess1-RO Heart It's so inspiring to hear about how you've used your experience to help others. What I found really interesting about your response was how you've seen the mental health system change over time. Now that you've had personal and professional experience in this area what do you have to say about the following question: 

 

Are services trying to address the gaps in the health system?

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

@Jess1-RO wow! That's really cool, and so nice that it's a path that brought you here!




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We had a live chat on Accessing Mental Health Support Online! Smiley Very Happy Check it out here! Heart

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

Are services trying to address the gaps in the health system? 

Great question! I think first we need to acknowledge that there are gaps- particularly in the youth area. It can be a hard area to talk about, and I want to acknowledge all the mixed feelings that may be out there about navigating the mental health system Heart

 

I do believe that services are trying to address the gaps in the health system, and I think the focus on youth has become an increasing priority for services and governments, and the establishment of headspace in this last decade is a prime example! 

 

I also feel that services are really starting to understand that having lived experience voices in the room at all levels of decision making can have a big impact in identifying and filling gaps! Are we there yet? No, services are always improving and growing! But we are definitely in a stronger position now to share our stories to let services and governments know where the gaps are, and work towards solutions together Smiley Happy

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

I might throw this question back to the community @ecla34 @WheresMySquishy @Bre-RO

Have you navigated the mental health system? And if you have found gaps, how did you manage to navigate around the gaps and find support?

Re: Ask a Pro Live: Navigating the Mental Health System October 2019

@Jess1-RO  I agree that headspace has helped a lot of young people since it started. In my area, I have seen a few other mental health clinics and spaces for young people pop up.

I also agree about the value of lived experience! I have been lucky enough to attend a few talks with people sharing their lived experience of a mental health issue and found them so informative.