Interview with a patient

Post 5 by Wiana Inthapanya
Not many people understand living in the skin of a person suffering a mental illness. It is often a seamless identity and you may never know who is suffering from one. In week 4 I was incredibly lucky to interview another student who once suffered a mental illness. Her personal journey was captivating and it was interesting to hear it from another perspective.
The interview commenced with the question, ‘How many people do you personally know that suffer from a mental illness?’. The interviewee paused taking a deep breath and bravely admitted that she had been mildly affected by depression for many years. Being an international student, travelling away from family has affected her severely.
Imagine you are forced to move to another country that you have never been to. You are travelling alone and as soon as you land, the only presence awaiting your arrival is a piece of paper with your name on it.
The interviewee strongly believes that there is still a stigma today on mental illness. Especially around young teens and international students like herself who have no family members close by to rely on. She suggests the factor of loneliness being a major contribution to her sickness. According to Beyond Blue, Australia’s leading mental health organisation, the greatest key to treating a patient is the initial step of communication.
She stated that, not everyone has received adequate treatment for their condition. Through her experience, she was constantly prescribed with anti-depressant medications rather than undertaking personal counselling sessions. This suggests to me that, maybe this is actually a common problem that needs to be addressed. If people are receiving inadequate treatment, of course they would not return to be properly treated. It takes so much courage for a patient to express their concerns to someone, so the initial consultation should always be treated efficiently so that all patients feel comfortable to return.
Ending the interview I asked, “How can we benefit from a more positive outlook for others suffering from mental illness?”. Her suggestion was to communicate with close family members, friends and colleagues so that they are aware of your condition. And if they aren’t available, research into organisations and community centres that are able to help. You’re never suffering alone and most teens need to know that.
PROBE:
The probe for my interviewee to complete was to document examples of mental health campaigns such as posters, flyers, signs etc that they see on their daily travels.
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These were the results during the week where she constantly saw advertisements relating to mental illness prevention on her daily routine. On the radio, she heard an advertisement for Sane Forums that is an online organisation that aim to help people who suffer from a mental illness by encouraging them to talk about their condition anonymously. Another advertisement that she witnessed was on her lunch break to Hungry Jacks who greatly support the “R U OK” campaign. Their large scaled posters were described as being dominantly placed in areas of the stores such as the entrance, counter and drive through windows. They are difficult not to miss due to the bright yellow colour of their campaign that is designed to capture your attention. I think it is such a wonderful idea to have a large organisation such as Hungry Jacks supporting a mental health campaign aimed at helping people. The exposure through a large organisation is greater and the age of the audience various across all scales from children, adults and the elderly.
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The R U OK campaign was also evident on Facebook. My interviewee stated that, she didn’t realise that these advertisements were actually visible daily. You don’t realise until you’re actually searching for them.
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