Snapshots. An initiative from SANE Australia to improve community attitudes towards mental illness.
It encourages us all to take a fresh look at how we view people who are affected, through authentic and positive real-life stories.
What are people living with mental illness really like? Sometimes they are stigmatised, or regarded as beyond hope or recovery. Sometimes they are portrayed as comical, or as eccentric geniuses. And sometimes people who develop a mental illness have these beliefs too, making them reluctant to acknowledge their condition or to seek help. The truth is that they are all ordinary Australians - and this shouldn’t be a surprise, with one in five of us affected by some form of mental health problem every year.
Snapshots invites you into the lives of these ordinary – yet also extraordinary – Australians who reveal what it is like to experience mental illness from the inside, and share their insights into recovery and the importance of connections with other people. As more people share their stories, Snapshots will grow - creating a valuable and fascinating resource on this much-misunderstood topic.
‘Without the support I received – particularly early on – I’d be on a very different path . . .' More >>
'The best thing about Shane is his sense of humour,' says Kate. 'We laugh at the most ridiculous things, even his illness.' More >>
‘I was in solitary confinement,’ he says. ‘They used to keep the lights on during the day and night. I never saw the sunlight.’ More >>
‘I would like to speak in public more often,’ he says, ‘I want to help people who are in the same position I was, because if I can change my life around, anybody can.’ More >>
‘We don’t put enough resources into the non-medical aspects of treating mental illness. There's so much more we could be doing to care for people and help their recovery.’ More >>
'I love all animals,' she says, 'and I particularly love dogs . . . Whenever I am with Kelsey, and particularly out walking, I focus on her rather than myself.' More >>
‘Leaving the house could take me two hours because I would check everything was off. My long-suffering husband had to reset the microwave, alarm clock and video recorder every night.’ More >>
‘I realised depression was a disease, that it wasn’t just a question of pulling yourself together,’ More >>
‘Self-advocacy is about learning to stand up for yourself before you can stand up for others,’ he says. ‘It is about building your confidence and self-esteem. It takes time.’ More >>
‘When I looked at the hardships my mental illness caused me, only 20% were caused by symptoms – that is, hearing voices, delusional thinking . . . More >>
‘In retrospect, I think I suffered from excessive anxiety all my life,’ Keith said. ‘I have experienced severe heart palpitations for as long as I can remember.’ More >>
‘Hopefully getting out there and saying I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar – but I’m recognising how it affects me and getting on with my life – will help others.’ More >>
‘I will happily answer any question and talk about my illness, but I won’t let it define me.' More >>Sally
‘I know my warning signs. I know the difference between what is anxiety for a reason and irrational anxiety for no reason whatsoever . . .’ More >>
‘I was sick of being unfit and unwell and sitting on the couch,’ he recalls. ‘I decided to have a go, and if it didn’t work, the worst that could happen was being back on the couch.’ More >>
‘My anxiety would get out of control and I wouldn't know how to deal with it, and as a result I would fall into these dark places.’ More >>
There is a great deal of love in Kylie's family. It is plain to see as she chats with daughters Emma-Leigh, 13, and Madeline, 12, the three of them laughing warmly together. More >>
‘Once I got out of that place,’ he says, ‘there was no way I would ever touch drugs ever, ever again. I just didn’t want to destroy my whole life completely.’ More >>
‘I am a lot more content with the way things are than ever before,’ he says. ‘I was always frustrated. Now I meditate, I read and practice the ethics. It keeps me calm.’ More >>
‘Schizophrenia is a horrible housemate,’ Sandy says. ‘You have to learn to understand its moods and the way they affect you . . . ' More >>
‘When you have depression it can affect you like having a bad flu.’ she says. ‘Your muscles ache, your joints ache, you're in a lot of pain.' More >>
'Like everyone, it's important for me to find the life/work balance that suits me and because I have bipolar I try not to overload myself', she says. More >>
SANE Australia is grateful to the supporters of the Snapshots initiative.