EDITORIAL: Q&A in Rocky will put mental health on our radars

THERE'S certainly a buzz around the newsroom and around parts of Rocky as the ABC prepares to bring its Q&A program live from The Pilbeam Theatre on Monday night.

The topic is mental health and it's one that all media will be talking out aloud about during Mental Health Week next week.

The panel for Monday night's program includes CQU lecturer in lived experience mental health, Dr Louise Byrne. Louise recently completed a PhD, but her experience is more intimate than academic.

She is a leading expert in her field, confident and articulate, but it wasn't always that way.

As a teenager Louise was in and out of hospital and struggled with small town stigma.

She ended up homeless and saw herself as someone who was less than other people and didn't deserve a normal life.

Today, at 36, she no longer considers she has a mental illness, but knows that her ability to navigate a complex system came down to being a bit of a rebel who always questioned authority.

Not everyone is rebellious like Louise and she says there's still a lot of work to be done to break down stereotypes and stigmas.

Treatment has moved a lot further than society's attitudes towards mental illness and Louise says a root cause is an unwillingness to talk about it.

Hopefully, next week will begin to change the way we talk and think about mental illness.

Reality is, it will affect half of us at some stage in our lives.

If that isn't you, it's someone you dearly love.



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