Schizophrenia Awareness Week 2017: Road to Recovery
9 May 2017
TeamHEALTH works together with the community to reduce the stigma, confusion and discrimination associated with this mental illness, enabling people to live a full and valued life.
Recent research suggests that just over 2 out of every 1,000 Australians, aged 18-45, will experience schizophrenia.
Lee, a participant at TeamHEALTH, has a diagnosis of schizophrenia and explains the frustration he feels when he opens up about his illness:
“Sometimes I have a lack of sleep because I am thinking a lot, and then I might have a delusion, so I will tell people what’s happening, and then I get rejected. It’s frustrating to go through, because people turn away from you, because they think you’re crazy, but you’re just trying to get well and get support,” he said.
TeamHEALTH supports individuals through their recovery, recognising that each journey is unique to each individual. Lee’s road to recovery starts by making sure he takes his medication so that he can do what he enjoys most - swimming in the ocean.
Lee is on the path to finding a job and has already taken a big step towards that goal by working at the Seabreeze Festival at Nightcliff last weekend.
Paul, a participant at TeamHEALTH, is currently experiencing schizophrenia and found the first six months of his diagnosis challenging:
“I slept a lot and gained 20kgs. At first I wasn’t hearing things, but then I started to feel like certain groups of people wanted to hurt me. Recently I have been feeling that people can hear my thoughts,” he explained.
Paul has been homeless for around 20 months, but is currently in the process of obtaining a unit in the TeamHEALTH Community Housing Support Program.
“I am looking forward to having my own place to sleep. Recovery is speaking about your problems. Medication helps keep me calm and to handle matters better,” he said.
Paul enjoys listening to music, and being as social as possible. He is currently engaged with the TeamHEALTH Day to Day Living drop-in centre.
“I jump on my bike and come to D2DL, and then I go back to my favourite spot at Nightcliff foreshore and watch the sunset. D2DL has made a big difference. It’s made me safe during the day,” he said.
Schizophrenia does not define an individual and seeking help is the most important step that can lead to an improved outcome and fulfilling life for that individual. Stigma is the number one reason why people do not seek help.
When asked what information he’d like to share with people to enable them to better understand schizophrenia, Lee said:
“Just be nice. Have an understanding of what you’re going through and talk to you like everyone else, be kind, be nice to each other – we’re all in the same boat, and when one falls out of the boat- call for help. It could happen to you one day- and you could get rejected.”
TeamHEALTH will join with other local service providers at Raintree Park in Darwin City on Monday May 15th from 10:00am till 1:00pm, to support the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (NT) in providing information for those individuals experiencing mental illness or people caring for these individuals.
For further information:
Hayley Aylott, Communications Coordinator, TeamHEALTH
Phone: (08) 8943 9600 Email: communications@TeamHEALTH.asn.au