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Everyone Has A Story… Will you be part of the telling?
I've been openly disclosing my mind health challenges since 2013. With the forthcoming publication of my mind health memoir Disclosure has two parts. Disclosure: Casting Out The Shadows is really going to put my story out there plus part two which is called Black Dogs, Rollercoasters and Pink Elephants | Strategies for Mind Health Resilience is a practical guide to navigating mind health challenges and building resilience.
Since November 2013 I have been delivering a weekly radio program called ‘But I Feel Good’ …talking about mind health matters focusing on pink elephants (positive resilience strategies) and black dogs (the lowest of low moods and their impacts and how to more effectively deal with them). I've been running the ‘Pink Elephant Project’ which is all about taking a Selfie with the Elphie (‘But I Feel Good’s’ mascot), with the aim to get 1,000 people to have their picture with the pink elephant to help us move beyond awareness of mind health matters into greater understanding, deep compassion and genuine acceptance for people living with mental illness and those who care for them.
I've also had the pleasure and the privilege to speak to dozens of Rotary and Lions Clubs as well speaking on behalf of the Black Dog Institute on the topics of mind health and resilience.
Here’s what I've noticed…
98.79 times out of 100 when I speak with someone about one of the things I do to make it OK to talk openly and comfortably about mind health matters they have their own personal story to tell about their experience or the experience of someone they know. I get to hear a lot of the tragic and life affirming stories about how people deal with mental illness and suicide.
My standard follow-up questions go something like this:
So, I’m curious, how often do you talk to people about this story? And would you be interested in being interviewed about your life as a carer or your lived experience of mental illness so that others can learn more about how to speak openly and comfortably about mind health matters?
When I extend that invitation I tend to get the same response. “NO.”
The no gets couched in lots of different ways. Sometimes it’s a quiet and shy “Oh, no I couldn't do that” and sometimes it’s an incredulous “You've gotta be kidding! No way! I couldn't do that!” When I dig a little deeper it turns out it’s OK to talk to someone who has been there and done that and truly understands but talking about mind health matters is not something people are prepared to do openly and comfortably because they believe there is just not enough understanding, compassion or acceptance for those who have a lived experience with mental illness.
If you think it’s better for you, me and everyone that more people speak openly and comfortably about their lived experience with mental illness, the loss of someone close by suicide or caring for someone with mental illness and you happen to fit into one of those categories… here’s your chance to make a difference and be part of breaking the stigma by helping people develop their understanding, compassion and acceptance.
I’d love you to be part of a conversation about mind health matters on the ‘But I Feel Good’ radio program. You can listen to the podcasts of the show at www.jacquichaplin.com/bifgondemand and you can call me to find out about being part of the show and the solution to stigma on +61 (0) 412 741 531
Why? Because your mind health matters...