Jeb, 19, NSW

“I wish the government understood just how difficult living with mental illness can be. Mental illness is incredibly complex and uniquely different for everyone who experiences it. As well as generalised feelings of depression and anxiety, I consequentially suffer from chronic nausea, headaches, faintness, fatigue, lack of concentration and motivation, feelings of physical sickness in the head, as well as having regular and exaggerated negative thoughts and feelings as a direct result of my mental health. Mental illness is so much more than being “sad a lot” or “worried a lot” as people may perceive; it’s a full body experience.

Considering just how many people suffer, and suffer alone, I think it is critical that we introduce more educational programs in schools centred around mental health education. I fundamentally believe that all young people, as well as their parents, need to be equipped with the basic tools to identify the signs and symptoms of mental illness both in themselves and others, as well as the basic strategies they can employ to care for themselves and others. Individuals who suffer from mental illness tend to already feel heightened levels of isolation and helplessness, and in my opinion this can be so easily assisted through creating greater support networks.”