Janet Wilton knew she was struggling, but it wasn’t until a suicide attempt landed her at Westmead Hospital that she decided to take her mental illness seriously.
The Blacktown mother-of-four was among the guests at the Western Sydney Mental Health Month event in Dawson Mall Mount Druitt last Thursday, October 24.
This year’s theme of ‘Share the Journey’ resonated with Janet as she recalled her traumatic childhood and decades of trying to cope alone.
“I suffered from depression for many years but I tried to ignore the signs. It wasn’t until I attempted suicide that I realised I didn’t want to die and I reached out to my sister for help,” Janet said.
“Now I’m an abuse survivor and a depression survivor. I’ve got a lot to be proud of considering where I’ve been and where I am today. No matter how many times I fall into the dip of depression I keep moving forward.”
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Mental Health was among the organisers of today’s event, which featured emergency services and not-for-profit support organisations including LikeMind, Parramatta Mission and atWork Australia.
WSLHD Mental Health director A/Prof Beth Kotze encouraged people take care of their mental health every day, and feel comfortable seeking informal and professional help.
“The theme of ‘Share the Journey’ fits for health workers as the journeys of our consumers inspire us to provide the best possibly mental health service,” Beth said.
“It’s so important not to walk that journey alone but to connect with people and support each other. It can be daunting taking that first step in asking a tough question or giving a personal answer, but connecting with others gives us a sense of security, support, purpose and happiness.”
Janet said she is alive today thanks to the support of family, friends and mental health organisations. atWork Australia helped her land a job at McDonald’s Granville last year after she was forced to leave her childcare job due to workplace bullying.
“Not everything in life is going to go your way. You are going to have challenges and defeats, but for me I just stay positive and do the best I can wherever life takes me,” Janet said.
“You only get the privilege of living once and I’ve realised I don’t need much. I have my family and my girlfriends and that’s good enough for me.”
If you or someone you know is in a crisis situation, please call triple-0 or the following organisations for support:
- Mental Health Hotline (Open 24 Hours) – 1800 011 511
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36
- Men’s Help – 1300 78 99 78