Today is World Mental Health Day – a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy.
1 in 5 Australians suffer with mental illness, yet many people struggle on without help because of the stigma that still exists in our nation.
This World Mental Health Day the question that is being asked is Do You See What I See? Mental Health Australia is asking us all to make a promise to support those who are suffering by bringing the illness out of the dark, and shed a more positive light on mental health.
Jade Millar is a Brisbane mother of four who has struggled with post-natal depression after the birth of her fourth child. Her husband Steve is completing full time studies in sonography and this year has been particularly hard on the whole family, both emotionally and financially. Listen to Ken, Nicky and Steve chatting with Jade in the audio player above.
Steve wrote to 96five nominating Jade for a SOS saying “Jade gets suicidal and fatigued to the point where she can’t leave her bed, but she tries incredibly hard to care for our family while I finish my unpaid practical placement for university. I know even just the smallest gesture would help her through this tough season, and help her feel less like she is alone in a sinking boat as she describes it.”
1 in 7 Australian Women Suffer From Post-Natal Depression
With a little help from our friends at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, Roses Only, Cadenshae and Ipswich Massage and Herbal Spa, we were able to visit Jade with a reminder that she’s not alone, and that Brisbane is supporting her.
When we arrived on the doorstep unannounced Jade couldn’t wipe the smile off her face!
She told 96five that although she’d usually had some depression after each child’s arrival, it was after the arrival of baby number four when things became really difficult.
“Hubby is working all day, every day for no pay as part of his university studies, so he’s constantly gone. He wasn’t allowed to have time off after baby was born because his studies didn’t allow for it.”
“Just being home alone, feeling isolated as my family is a bit further away, and with the sleep deprivation everything just became really overwhelming.”
Reaching Out Is Important
Jade elaborated further on the sense of isolation she felt; even though she had some great support from family and her church, the loss of one-on-one connection that social media has brought hit her hard.
“People can see that things look good and happy, they see photos of the new baby and everything looks wonderful. You can forget to bring people into the real world and meet up with them and stay in touch.”
Jade was so grateful to receive her SOS gifts but told 96five that it was the thoughts behind it all that are the most important thing to someone struggling with mental health and depression.
“It’s such a joy to know that you’re not just another face in the crowd, that you’re not going through this alone, and that people see you. Those little things make the day easier to get through.”
There was also some advice and encouragement for other mums who may find themselves walking a similar path to Jade.
“Always talk to your doctor of course. But then try to find a little bit of joy in each day, even if it’s sitting down for a cup of tea or going outside for a walk. Also reach out to other people so they can see the full picture, not just the picture of what you want them to see. If others don’t know, then they can’t give you the help you need.”