It’s Schizophrenia Awareness Week and this year, the theme is “Discover Better Mental Health”. The aim is to:
- highlight the voice of lived experience to support connection,
- to provide practical suggestions about how people can discover better mental health, and
- to let people living with schizophrenia know that they can reach out for support if they need it.
Did you know people living with mental health conditions may be eligible for support under the NDIS?
Lee does, and since receiving NDIS support via Therapy Care, he has turned his life around.
Lee, who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia 23 years ago, receives:
- support to help him get ready each morning every week day,
- transport to the day’s activity, appointments and shopping,
- recreational therapy where Lee works on increasing his daily living skills,
- a spot in Therapy Care’s group day program (mind-full stream) three days a week, and
- domestic assistance to support Lee with staying on top of household chores.
This level of support has enabled Lee to re-enter the workforce – something he thought was beyond his reach two years ago.
Lee says, “employment gives me a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed every day. I feel confident about re-entering the workforce because Therapy Care will be by my side each day.”
Lee joined the Therapy Care community four years ago. During this time Recreational Therapist, Karlie Scurr, has been working closely with Lee and his support team to integrate services tailored specifically to his interests and goals.
“Lee’s confidence has improved drastically. Having a support worker who encourages him to take care of himself daily has made the world of difference. Lee now takes pride in his appearance and often comes into the office to show off how good he is looking and feeling,” says Karlie.
Missy, one of Lee’s key support workers says, “Lee, who was once very set in his ways, is now very open to trying new activities and he has adopted a more positive attitude towards life. As a result, his kindness and caring personality shines through and is noticed by our wider community.”
“Trying new activities and socialising doesn’t come easily to me. I love that the team at Therapy Care encourages me to live outside of my comfort zone in environments where I feel safe and supported. Because of this, I’ve made new friends and enjoyed activities I never thought I would,” says Lee.
The Lee four years ago wouldn’t recognise the Lee today. He knows how to budget, has savings in his bank account, is employed, takes pride in how he looks, has a great circle of friends, isn’t afraid to try new activities and is a whizz at using his iPad.
“I’d love to be a mentor for other people with mental illness and demonstrate just how capable they are of achieving a life that they might think is out of reach,” says Lee.
When reflecting on the life Lee has built for himself, he is overwhelmed with pride. “It took me so long to get to where I am now and I’m so proud of myself and excited for what the future holds,” says Lee.
While we’ve come a long way in breaking down the stigma around mental illness, the perception of Schizophrenia largely remains misconstrued.
“There are many misconceptions about Schizophrenia. Many of us keep our condition well-managed and behave and function like everyone else.
“I am kind, gentle and caring. I wish more people knew this about me and that one day I don’t feel as misjudged as I do today,” says Lee.