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Now I can dance

Bede wearing blue hat and smiling with trees in the background

As a social change activist and SANE Peer Ambassador, Bede is passionate about human rights and mental health awareness. He shares how not being able to live openly as a gay man related to his experience of depression and suicidal thoughts. And, how revealing more of who he was opened a new chapter for him as a mental health advocate.

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How I learnt it's ok to get help

Person looking down and smiling they are outside and sun is shining on them.

I grew up in a culture where many people don’t talk about mental health issues. So, it has always been hard to discuss my mental health journey with others.

However, having navigated challenges and stigma around mental health issues to get support, I would like to share what I've learnt so others know they are not alone.

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When I came out

Sandy standing in front of window sill and looking calmly at the camera

This Pride Month, Peer Ambassador Sandy shares her experiences of falling in love, coming out and receiving mental health treatment over the years. She reflects on how attitudes to LGBTQIA+ people have shifted from dark and discriminatory to something more accepting.

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OCD: the symptoms you don’t see

A photo of Tim from the shoulders up looking into camera calmly.

You might have seen Tim on ABC’s You Can’t Ask That sharing his experiences of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Here, he gives even more insight into living with OCD, the symptoms people don’t see and how acceptance gives him strength.  

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'The death sentence didn't eventuate': the importance of discovering hope and purpose

Sandy is on a hockey pitch with her hockey stick in position to hit a ball. She is wearing a purple uniform and rainbow coloured socks.

From poet and violinist, to hockey player and advocate, Sandy Jeffs OAM is also one of SANE’s longest serving Peer Ambassadors, sharing her experience of living with schizophrenia for 45 years to shape public policy and help others. 

This Schizophrenia Awareness Week, which coincides with SANE’s 35th anniversary, we chat to Sandy about the ‘heady’ early days of SANE, becoming a public figure, and ‘curating’ a life towards wellness, despite the daily challenges.   

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‘Discover More’: The REAL reasons living with ‘schizophrenia’ is so challenging

Person from shoulders up with long blond hair smiling at camera. They are outside and there are trees in the background.

I thrive with my ‘diagnosis of schizophrenia’ but there are still challenges for me that I feel aren’t well understood by others.

So, what are the REAL reasons that my life with ‘a diagnosis of schizophrenia’ is so challenging?

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‘Giving Voice’ to mental illness and trauma

1_20180828-061059_1 'Endless Darkness' by Emma McEvoy, 2012
'Mower Metal Burnt' by Theinert Werner, 2009

'Giving Voice' is a new exhibition of creative works from the Cunningham Dax Collection that showcases the art of people living with mental illness. The Cunningham Dax Collection is the only collection of its type and size in the Southern Hemisphere and consists of more than 16,000 artworks created by people with lived experience of mental illness ...
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‘Discover More’: the power of choir and community to expand horizons

Jenni and Niall standing in front of the Voices of Frankston banner at the Frankston Uniting Church

From singing alongside acrobats, community and acceptance, to improvement in mental health symptoms, Niall and Jenni chat about the empowerment that comes from ‘finding their voice’ in Voices of Frankston.

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Madness, poetry and the search for meaning

Madness, poetry and the search for meaning

I was a young twenty-three year old graduate when I was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1976. I was told by clinicians that with every psychotic episode I had, I would go further into unreachable madness from which I would never recover.

The diagnosis was a death-sentence. Any thoughts of a future and a career were crushed by this awful mental illness and an equally awful assumption that my life would amount to nothing.

There was no presumption of capacity, no expectation that I would blossom like my friends around me who were getting on with their lives and forging successful careers. I felt irrelavant, and worse, invisible in the world. I describe it as walking in the shadows of others and casting none of my own. I was left with no identity, no sense of self and no hope. They were dark days.

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How body positivity helps my eating disorder recovery

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The unhealthy relationship with my body began when I was in my teens. I had just started high school and for the first time in my life, people started commenting on my changing body. I was taught that my worthiness was based on appearance and constantly felt the pressure to look a certain way.  Food became a friend Around this time, I started ...
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