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Wednesday 28 June 2017


New mental health publication seeks submissions

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By GayNZ.com Daily News staff - 17th May 2017

Sexuality and gender diverse people who wish to share their perspective of life with mental illness are being sought for a new publication.
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As an Auckland woman struggled to find her experiences of mental illness reflected in the media, she decided to take it upon herself to compile the stories of others in a new magazine.

Charlotte-Rose Ruddell recognised the need for a publication that allows people to take control of their own narrative after discussing her experiences with a friend who has also faced mental illness. She and Liv Young hope Mental will reframe perceptions of mental illness in New Zealand.

Young says "...I think that is a really horrible and prevalent issue among people experiencing mental health difficulties... that they are discriminated against. So it’s really important that that message is really loud and clear that we want everyone and anyone to be involved in this project.”

She says “We are encouraging individuals to look at their experience and whatever suits them best , so it might just be a day in the life of, or it might be over several years or it might be a particular scenario with medication or an appointment, or a family member, their lifestyle or their work environment.

"We’re really open to how the individual wants to portray their story whether it’s a positive or a negative light, it’s up to them.”

Ruddell, who has written publicly of her experiences with bipolar disorder, says being in control of your own narrative is paramount when sharing your experiences publicly.

Shaun Robinson, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, says: “When people share their stories authentically and on their terms, it is not only therapeutic for them, but it can help others to feel less alone when facing their own challenges.

“It also leads to greater understanding of what it’s like to live with mental illness and breaks down negative stereotypes that lead to stigma and discrimination.”

Ruddell says mental illness is still stigmatised in New Zealand.

“It’s shocking really and I feel like in our society there’s like a ‘oh yes, we can talk about it’, but we still don’t really know how to talk about it with each other. It’s such a delicate subject.”

A subject which Young says people often think of as scary, especially if they don’t have personal experience of mental illness.

“… there aren’t really any tools out there for people growing up to actually begin to actually accept it as a form of illness and nothing more and nothing less than that, which I think, again, help segment society further from those that have mental health illnesses and those that don’t.”

The pair are currently taking submissions from anyone who has experienced mental illness and who would like to share their story. Submissions can be sent to mentalcontributions@gmail.com

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