My name is Natalie.
I’m 28 years old. Since the age of 21, I have suffered on and off from relatively severe anxiety and depression. I have been hospitalised on two occasions, but am lucky to have private health insurance, which means that, when I need it, I can get help almost immediately. I know that there are many people who are not as lucky as me in this regard.
In late 2014, after years spent feeling ashamed and secretive about suffering from mental health problems, I decided to start being more open, and started writing about my experiences. I’ve had a few articles published in TheJournal, you can read them – and learn more about me in the process – by clicking here. For the last while, it has been niggling at me that writing, although it may be helpful to some people, is not enough. I have wanted to do more. But I have felt frustrated with not being able to think of what I, one individual, can do to change the circumstances in our country when it comes to mental health in the public health system.
I know there are many wonderful charities out there who do so much good work when it comes to helping people who are suffering from mental health crises, but I believe that this is allowing our government to feel that they can shirk some of their responsibilities. I believe that our government are failing people when they are at their most vulnerable. In my article from December 2014 – which you can read by clicking here – I talk about how, if I had been reliant on the public health system, I would have had to wait 294 days between being referred by Beaumont Hospital to seeing a psychologist. To this day, I strongly feel that, if not for my ability to access private mental health care, there would be a high chance that I would not still be here.
In recent weeks, with the continuous publishing of news articles about our crumbling mental health services – you can read some of these articles in the *Information Zone* section – I have been trying to think about what I can do. The result of this thinking is this website.
I have no hidden agenda. I have no interest in running for politics (I did consider this for about three minutes, until a close friend reminded me how much I would hate it!). I am not looking for reward. I just want to do more to help people who are suffering, because I know what it’s like to suffer.
I need everyone’s help to make this work, to make our government take notice of us.