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Lived Experiences

Ben’s Story

Ben’s Story

At the age of 13 I started to lose myself.  I became overly anxious, hopeless, down and suicidal. There were clear warning signs of my descent into depression and suicidality which professional institutions and loved ones didn’t recognise. I didn’t know where to go or who to see, until I ended up in the Emergency Department of PMH a year later. My first visit to the ED finished with me being sent home since there was no space for me in hospital. I resorted to seeing private clinicians and had bad experiences and ended back in the ED only to be sent home again due to insufficient space. Considering I was fast tracked, I waited six weeks to finally see Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). CAMHS helped me for numerous months before I was discharged back into normal life. For me normal life hadn’t yet been realised. I still had so many issues, but I was not considered severe enough for the CAMHS or the ED department. I struggled to find my footing until I was fortunate enough to participate in some incredible programs.

I entered a new school with a fantastic well-being camp. The camp was instilled with community values, support and guidance and helped me to truly discover myself. Following on from that camp, I attended the zero2hero mental health leadership camp which further developed my understanding of self, mental health and my community. However my school camp was shielded behind a financial barrier and the zero2hero program has limited spaces. If it weren’t for these opportunities I wouldn’t have properly healed from my mental health issues nor develop the skills necessary to stop me from relapsing.

In retrospect, if someone had recognised the warning signs of my mental health issues that I displayed before my issues became so severe that I needed emergency help my future would have been so different. I probably never would of been in the ED department of PMH or of harmed myself. What I needed was someone to recognise my struggle and direct me to a service that wasn’t for severe cases but for people who aren’t ‘ok’.

Nowadays I have incredible introspection skills that allow me to moderate my well-being and help others to deal the other their own well-being.