Day to Day Living program participants Ian Painter, Sarah Baker and
Day to Day Living program participants Ian Painter, Sarah Baker and "Fred" hang out together at the centre in Albert St. Photo Angela Lewis / The Morning Bulletin Angela Lewis ROK

Friends deal with mental health issues at local programs

FOR hours on end, Rockhampton resident Sarah Baker would lock herself away in her caravan - isolated.

The times were dark and she could see nothing but swirling images of paranoia.

She was living in a caravan at The Causeway on the Capricorn Coast.

"I got paranoid sometimes ... I always think that people are looking at me or laughing at me all the time," she said.

"I just decided one day just to forget about everyone else and just lock myself away."

For her friend Ian Painter, who was dealing with schizophrenia 12 years before he got help at Excel Care last year, going out in public was like walking on eggshells because it meant encountering people, who he thought might "hit me".

"I didn't know them and they didn't know me," Ian said.

"It was pretty scary ... I just used to count to 10 backwards to try to help me overcome dealing with people in public," he said.

Ian and Sarah, along with their friend "Fred" have broken their shackles of isolation and despair and have been attending Day to Day Living programs in Albert St to help them with their mental disabilities.

"It's really great ... the program helps build self-respect, self- encouragement and self-loyalty in you," Ian said.



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