"...the more people that are able to speak openly about their mental health, the more people will acknowledge the validity of their experiences and reach out to seek help..."
Courtney Bilske is the Being Herd Coordinator at batyr, a purpose driven, preventative mental health organisation. After slipping into some pretty dark places herself, Courtney found tools to help her cope and wants to help others do the same. We have her here to explain a little bit about batyr:
Tell us about batyr:
"batyr is a for purpose preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people. We smash the stigma surrounding mental health and empower young people to reach out for support.
We help create communities that support young people's mental health and wellbeing. We do this by engaging programs, young people talking to young people about mental health and wellbeing, educating through the sharing of experience stories, and empowering young people by giving them the knowledge and skills to lead mentally healthy lives."
What are you looking forward to in the exhibition?
"We love that Art Pharmacy has provided a platform that draws awareness and a space to talk openly and honestly about mental health.
Through the engaging aspect of creative pieces there's opportunity to break down this stigma in a way that is less traditional. We can still engage, educate and empower people to talk about mental health in a positive way, and raise some funds for batyr at the same time!"
Why do you think it’s important to open the dialogue around our mental health?
"I think the more people that are able to speak openly about their experiences, the more people will have the confidence to show vulnerability and acknowledge the validity of their experiences, and then, the more likely it could be for someone who may be suffering in silence to reach out and seek help.
By sharing stories of hope, recovery and resilience we enable people to see it's OK not to be OK, and that help is out there. Let's normalise the fact that we all have our own experiences with mental health. If we can create these communities that foster support and understanding then we will be able to provide a space where people can build their own resilience and take steps to look after their mental wellbeing."
What are some steps people can take if they’re having a hard time?
"There's lots of support out there to help people who are struggling, and it's important to determine what the best course of action is.
The first suggestion would be to have a chat with your GP. They are good person to reach out to initially, and can link you up with the right resources depending on what kind of support you require.
Other options include online information services like SANE Australia, Black Dog Institute, beyondblue and Reachout. There's also phone numbers you can call such as LifeLine. It's important to be able to connect with someone, whether it be family, friends or a professional, and voice the fact you're not doing so well."