Month: July 2016

Highway to Well

Acca Daccas

Last November, a group from RichmondPRA’s Moore Street house at Leichhardt went to see AC/DC at the ANZ stadium. Warren from Panorama relived the experience with David and Guy in the backyard at Moore Street over a dozen cupcakes.

Winston Churchill said, “If you find yourself marching through hell… keep going!”

And that’s exactly what AC/DC have done, although the way they describe hell it sounds more like heaven. The death of their lead singer Bon Scott did not stop them. Drummer Phil Rudd’s, ahem, “personal issues” did not stop them. The early retirement of Malcolm Young to a nursing home did not stop them. Nothing can stop them! It’s been over 40 years since Angus young was expelled from school, but he’s still wearing the uniform and AC/DC is still showing the resilience of hard rock.

This is what they call The Highway to Well.

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Desley’s Crazy YPOP Adventure


I have had a crazy adventure and journey with YPOP. I am 1,000% certain they have made a massive difference in my life!

Though on the other hand it just doesn’t seem real enough for me to come off as a sane person, if I were to talk about it. It’s been quite surreal.

I want to start off by mentioning that four months after joining up with YPOP (the Young Person’s Action Program) I started a journal. I wanted to see how my life was going to change over a year, not necessarily because of YPOP. However, I found myself going through a lot of my diary entries recently, and realised they have been a big part of the positive changes I have had over the last 14 months I’ve been working with them. They have helped me in so many ways that I don’t know where to start. I want to say a massive big thanks to Jimmy Acosta, Silvia, Kevin and Liz, who helped assist me in going to my doctors’ appointments, helping me become more self-aware of my mental health, assisting me in getting a birth certificate, and encouraging and motivating me to leave my house when I couldn’t even think about opening my front door.

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Parents with mental health issues: Guilt gives way to pride

Jeanette and her young son

Pictured: Jeanette and her young son.

Some people try to discourage people with mental health issues from having children. There is a widespread belief that this is somehow “best” for all concerned. With the help of two proud mothers, Warren Heggarty suggests that the issue is not so cut and dried.

Jeanette told Panorama: “During one of my stays in hospital, I was told ‘if you don’t get better we will take your son from you.’ It was heartbreaking! Not only was I experiencing the illness, I was also having this fear placed on me – not that they could have done it, but how unkind it is when people don’t understand mental health issues!”

We all want to give our children an environment which is safe and stable enough for them to flourish. But mental health issues can make this quite challenging. Hearing voices that other people (including your children) cannot hear might lead to misunderstandings and confusion. People who have extremely “high” or “low” moods can sometimes cause their children anxiety because they sense that there is something seriously wrong with mum or dad. Where parents have beliefs that other people consider odd or outrageous, children might find it hard going, and conflict may develop. But let’s not write off the idea of parenting too quickly.

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Recovery stories: Hopes, dreams, and the power of teams

Donna and Jeanette

Donna Manion (left) and Jeanette Rodriguez (right) first met by chance ten years ago through Donna’s work. Today they both work together again at RichmondPRA’s St Marys service. First, Panorama listened in as they reflected on the positive changes over those ten years.

Jeanette: I had been on medication for anxiety since the age of fifteen. I have had five admissions to a psychiatric hospital on the outskirts of Sydney. The last was my worst and longest stay. They would wean me off one medication and then put me on another. I wondered why it was taking so long. A doctor told me it was because “you’re not cooked yet.” Then one day I was walking with the doctor down past the place where they do ECT (shock treatment) and the doctor said if this medication doesn’t work ECT will be our next option.

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