From personal struggles to Peer Worker: “I provide hope so somebody makes the decision to continue living.”

Mitch Farrell, Peer Support Worker at Towards Zero Suicides

In the realm of mental health, compassion, empathy, and understanding play an essential role in healing.

Mitch Farrell, a Peer Support Worker at Towards Zero Suicides within Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD), recently shared his impactful insights at the Westmead Hospital Week’s Psychiatry Symposium.

His words resonated deeply, shedding light on the significance of Safe Haven, and the incredible power of vulnerability in connecting with those in need.

“Safe Haven is a non-clinical drop in services staffed by peer workers to assist people that are experiencing suicidal crisis or experiencing suicidal ideation and as an alternative to the emergency department where they can just seek support in as safe way,” Mitch said.

Here, individuals can find solace, support, and understanding in a safe environment, away from the clinical setting.

Mitch’s own journey through his vulnerabilities and the path to recovery is what fuels his passion for this role, allowing him to connect with individuals on a profound level.

This vulnerability shaped his discussion, opening the speech by pointing out his nervousness in public speaking situations.

“I’m standing up here, and I’m proud of myself. I think accepting this anxiety and this nervousness, is a good opportunity to share that vulnerability with you.”

Embracing that vulnerability really gives meaning and allows me to connect with you as the audience.”

The power of Mitch’s journey is in his transformation from a person in need of support to a person who provides support.

“I’m here because I was able to get support and recover. It’s come down to me accepting, owning, and acknowledging my vulnerabilities and that’s put me in a position where I can use that to speak to people that are currently experiencing similar experiences that I have.”

Mitch spoke to his work, which lies in his ability to offer hope and value to those who might feel lost and insignificant.

To help someone make that decision that they want to stay alive, providing them with that sense of hope and that sense of value. That they’re worth something.”

Giving the health professionals in the room insight into his experience as a consumer turned provider, Mitch spoke to the idea that vulnerabilities can transform into strengths, comparing his journey to a superhero story.

“These vulnerabilities that I’ve experienced, that’s my origin story, and the vulnerabilities are a superpower that I gained out of it. That superpower is so powerful because it allows me to connect with people and provide hope so that somebody makes the decision to stay safe to continue living.”

In a room full of mental health professionals, Mitch acted as a reminder of the significance of their work, his role as a Peer Support Worker at Safe Haven being testament to the transformative power of understanding, empathy, and acceptance.

If you or someone you know needs support head here for the ‘Mental health services and support contact list’