It's been a bit of a whirlwind these last few days.
Tonight I'll finally get to see the episode of Australian Story that has been in the works over the last year or so. We started working on this story together quite some time ago looking at my family's journey through mental illness. I haven't seen any of the episode in advance so we'll all be seeing it at the same time. They shot over 30 hours in total so I'm not entirely sure what it's all going to look like yet!
I think it's really encouraging that ABC have been focusing so much on mental health. I strongly believe that a massive barrier to people getting the help and support they need is feeling ashamed to do so. Trying to reduce mental illness stigma has been a big priority of mine for a while and it's wonderful to have Australian Story highlighting that. I've been so fortunate to have a supportive family. We're all up at my parents' house at the moment to watch the show together. I absolutely HATE watching myself on video but I'm pushing through the awkwardness this time. :)
I've heard from a number of old friends in the last few days who have gotten back in touch. Some of them have told me how they've also been through similar experiences with mental illness and most of them have been getting help and have found massive improvements in their lives. I know all too well that each case is different and some will have a harder time than others in getting the right treatment but I really hope that people who have questioned whether or not they might need to get some professional help will take that big step and try it.
My involvement in Australian Story is simply to be a part of the storytelling itself. The ABC team are an incredible group of talented and genuine people who have remarkable abilities to tell stories. My hope going forward though is that by telling the story it will benefit other people in some way or another and encourage ongoing conversations. I truly believe that talking about these things can change lives and save lives. I really don't think this is all about me. I see it as a reflection of everyone and where we're all headed in how we handle mental health as a society.
Thanks to everyone involved with creating the story, to all the lovely people who've supported me over the years, and of course to everyone who is willing to listen.
Australian Story airs Monday 13th April 2015 at 8pm on ABC
Update: The episode can be see on the Australian Story website