Dr Louise Byrne was a panellist on the popular current affairs program, which kick-started ABC’s Mental As... campaign.
Dr Louise Byrne was a panellist on the popular current affairs program, which kick-started ABC’s Mental As... campaign. Photo By Peter Lawrence

Change still a priority after Q&A forum - Dr Lousie Byrne

THE seed has been sown, but now it's up to each and every one of us to help it grow.

This was how mental health expert and CQUniversity lecturer Dr Louise Byrne summed up Monday's Q&A live broadcast from the Pilbeam Theatre in Rockhampton.

Dr Byrne was a panellist on the popular current affairs program, which kick-started ABC's Mental As... campaign.

"I don't want to wait until next October to talk about it again," Dr Byrne said.

"There's so much more to be said and so much information to be relayed to the public. If people don't know then their perceptions aren't changing and the stigma isn't being lifted.

"We need to get it out there and give people hope."

While Dr Byrne said the experience was great, she felt the discussion between fellow panellists Bob Katter and Josh Thomas about homosexuality went on for too long.

"As a result a number of other important issues didn't get covered," she said.

She said their argument was gaining a lot of media coverage, and she hoped this didn't overshadow some of the other questions raised.

"A lot of the things we were talking about have never been discussed in a national public forum.

"For that to be lost would be a real shame," she said.

Dr Byrne said she was "terrified" for the first 20 minutes of the show.

"It was really intimidating," she admitted.

"But about half way through I was really enjoying myself. There were some amazing questions that were really brave and I wanted to honour their courage by focusing on them and really answer the question."

Dr Byrne said she wasn't surprised by the calibre of questions presented to the panel that night.

"We have an incredible demographic here in Rockhampton," she said.

"Probably in the last five years or so this town has really grown up, showing we've got sophistication and a sense of who we are.

"There are some incredibly thoughtful people in our community... people are hungry for change. I was very proud."



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