11 September 2022
Cathy holding dog
“It’s been a journey, but I’ve come out the other side. I believe in shining colours. I’ve really done a lot of hard work to turn my life around.”

“My first admission to hospital was in 2000 when I tried to take my life after I left high school. I got through a four-year automotive mechanical apprenticeship and worked as a qualified trade mechanic for a couple of years after that. I then studied to become an interior designer and worked as a retail designer at west end for a couple of years before I become quite unwell with several diagnoses. For about eight years after that I was in and out of about five different hospitals in Brisbane. A few of those years I was in hospital more than I was out of hospital.

I completed the Flourish program and through Flourish I was introduced to the concept of recovery and what that looked like for me. We also learnt how to identify our values, goals and how to achieve them. I was amazed at how beneficial and well-structured the program and its resources were and having a great facilitator Hellie, the Senior Peer Support Coordinator from Neami Strathpine was wonderful too.

I also attend the Peer Support group which provided me with a safe space among other people with lived experience, facilitated by Hellie. We discuss anything that may be going on in our lives that we are perhaps struggling with, going well or want advice on. It’s a great outlet because some of us don’t have a lot of other supports to talk to or safe places to vent those things. So, the peer group provides that safe space in a structured way.

“Neami provides an environment where you don’t feel judged.”
Cathy and Hellie
Above: Hellie and Cathy

“Neami provides an environment where you don’t feel judged. You feel like people understand similar things or aspects of what you’re going through, you don’t feel like you’re going to be judged, put down, spoken to disrespectfully or nastily. Everyone’s really supportive and understanding.

Hellie was the first person I felt has ever truly believed in me and I guess saw my good qualities. She gave me the opportunity, courage, inspiration and confidence to apply for a scholarship to do Certificate IV in Mental Health and Peer Work. She introduced me to the PPIMS Network through PHN. She’s also created a lot of opportunities such as attaining my Mental Health First Aid Certificate and I’ve joined two mental health lived experience committees.

Just having even that one person in your life, somebody to believe in me in my corner has made the world of difference and literally changed my life for the for the better. Now I feel a bright future to look forward to thanks to Hellie and the staff at Neami.

It’s been a journey, but I’ve come out the other side I believe in shining colours, I’ve really done a lot of hard work to turn my life around and throughout my recovery journey thus far, now for the first time in a very long time I’m living my best life.”