October is Mental Health Month in NSW. This awareness month encourages all of us to think about our own and others mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental illness or not.
We recently spoke to Lloyd Slade, 43, who has shared his experience living with a mental health condition and disability. Lloyd hopes it will increase awareness, understanding and compassion for those who are in the same boat.
Lloyd lives with schizophrenia, severe depression, anxiety and a mild intellectual disability. He was first diagnosed with schizophrenia after he experienced a nervous breakdown at 17 years of age.
“For many years, my mental health condition created a barrier between me and the outside world. I really struggled to go out into the community which severely impacted my ability to land a steady job.
“While I have been receiving support consistently since the age of 16, it’s only since being with Therapy Care that I’ve really started to re-integrate into the community,” says Lloyd.
“I am really comfortable with the staff and fellow participants at Therapy Care and enjoy the outing and how tailored my support is.
“While I’ve achieved my first goal of getting out into the community with Therapy Care, I still hold hope to someday find employment,” Lloyd says.
“I have come a long way since I first started receiving support from Therapy Care. I am more hopeful about my future. I am surrounding by great people, and receive supports that improve my life and set me up to achieve my NDIS goals.
“For those who are living with a mental health condition and don’t feel supported, my advice is, reach out to someone or an organisation who you think may be a good match for you. There is support out there and things do get better,” says Lloyd.
Lloyd concludes, “For people who want to do more to understand and advocate for those living with a mental health condition, my advice is to make sure those people in your life feel listened to and heard. We often feel misunderstood, so when people truly try and empathise, it really means a lot.”
If you’re living with a mental health condition and disability and are looking for support, we invite you to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.