Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636. In an emergency, call 000.

IMAGES:  A woman, Donna Matthews, is shown sitting at a desk, working on a computer. Donna wears black glasses and has dark blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. She’s wearing a black jumper.  On the wall behind her, there is an opinion piece from the Geelong Advertiser which says “Mending Minds” by Donna Matthews. 

“So, I’ve had a long history of mental distress.  I’d had a few overdoses and suicide attempts um here and there.” 

IMAGES: A poster on the wall says “Mind Full, or Mindful?” with a picture of a person, a dog walking through a park. The person is shown with a thought bubble full of icons of music, sad faces, people, cars, clocks, and mail. The dog is thinking of the park scene in front of them. 

“When I was 38 that’s when I really kind of crashed and that was the first time that I was actually admitted to a mental health unit.” 

IMAGES: Donna Matthews is sitting on a chair, looking at the camera. She has a black and white coloured top with a paisley pattern on it. She has taken her glasses off.  

“My name is Donna Matthews and I’m the Lived Experience Manager here at Barwon Health’s Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Services.

“When I ended up getting admitted to an in-patient unit, I arrived on an ambulance trolley and it was a Friday night.

“The ambulance guys just sort of load the trolley and there I am standing in this lounge room wearing ah, flannelette pyjamas, with flowers on them clutching a bunch of flowers my mum had given me and it was a really chaotic Friday night.”

IMAGES: Donna is shown walking down a corridor next to a shadowy figure in a dark coat. The camera is blurry and wobbly. 

“There seemed to be lots of quite unwell people there. There was noise, colour, commotion; all this going on.  It was just quite – ah - horrific really. 

“So, finally somebody walked past and he said, “Are you ok love?” and it turns out it was a patient. 

“and he just said to me “Are you ok love?” and suddenly I was being treated as a person again and that somehow gave me a bit of strength.”

IMAGES: Donna talks in front of a whiteboard filled with text. She’s then shown sitting next to a woman with dark brown hair, showing her a document. The woman with brown hair is nodding. 

“What I realised sitting there was that I’d, I’d gone in as an educated woman umm a mother, a daughter, a sister umm you know a strong capable person with lots of different talents but walking through those doors I’d been reduced to being someone who wasn’t well.

IMAGES: Donna stands in front of a wall which had beautiful aboriginal artwork in shades of green and blue. The image includes a bird soaring over a river. 

“So, I had the week in the mental health unit and then I had to go back to work and that was the hardest walk that I’ve ever done from the carpark, to walk up to the front doors of my work.”

IMAGES: Donna stands in a car park taking deep breaths. 

“I just so didn’t want to be there, because I was worried about um, you know people asking questions.  I was scared of people’s reaction if they knew.” 

IMAGES: Donna is shown talking and laughing with a colleague. Her colleague is sitting opposite her at a table. 

“But ah what I found over time was, when you are brave enough to ah be honest yourself, you find that often other people are in similar situations.

“So that was the start of me kind of coming out of from the shadow of, of stigma and prejudice.”

IMAGES: Donna is shown talking to the woman with dark brown hair and looking at the document together. 

“Unless you are the person sitting in that bed you know in a general hospital or on the mental health unit you don’t really know the quality of the service you are providing.  The wonderful thing about lived experience and peer support is there’s no expert in the relationship.  We are equals and we are learning from each other and you support each other on the good days and the bad days.

“I think it’s important to break stigma around mental illness because you never know if one day it’s going to be you.” 

IMAGES: Donna is shown again sitting in the chair and talking to the camera. 

“You know we need to be accepting of people who have what we call personality disorders. People with bipolar, or people with schizophrenia.  We need to be accepting of all of these people and realise that many of them are in high-flying jobs, they’ve got families; they are your neighbours and um just break down that stigma so that’s there's no shame.  
 
“Cause the worst thing you can do when you are feeling unwell and distressed is to be carrying this burden of shame with you as well.”

IMAGES: The screen fades to white.  Writing appears which says ‘It’s Time to Talk about Mental Health’. The next screen says for support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue; The final screen says To find out more search www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au " />

Former radiographer Donna Matthews has experienced many mental health challenges as a result of trauma from early in her childhood.

During a hospitalisation in her 30s, the kindness of a fellow mental health ward patient showed Donna she could make a difference to others experiencing challenges.

She is now the lived experience manager at Barwon Health in Geelong and uses her powerful experiences to improve hospital systems, procedures and policies for others.

If you or someone you know needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636. In an emergency, call 000.

 

If you or someone you know needs support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636. In an emergency, call 000.

IMAGES:  A woman, Donna Matthews, is shown sitting at a desk, working on a computer. Donna wears black glasses and has dark blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. She’s wearing a black jumper.  On the wall behind her, there is an opinion piece from the Geelong Advertiser which says “Mending Minds” by Donna Matthews. 

“So, I’ve had a long history of mental distress.  I’d had a few overdoses and suicide attempts um here and there.” 

IMAGES: A poster on the wall says “Mind Full, or Mindful?” with a picture of a person, a dog walking through a park. The person is shown with a thought bubble full of icons of music, sad faces, people, cars, clocks, and mail. The dog is thinking of the park scene in front of them. 

“When I was 38 that’s when I really kind of crashed and that was the first time that I was actually admitted to a mental health unit.” 

IMAGES: Donna Matthews is sitting on a chair, looking at the camera. She has a black and white coloured top with a paisley pattern on it. She has taken her glasses off.  

“My name is Donna Matthews and I’m the Lived Experience Manager here at Barwon Health’s Mental Health Drugs and Alcohol Services.

“When I ended up getting admitted to an in-patient unit, I arrived on an ambulance trolley and it was a Friday night.

“The ambulance guys just sort of load the trolley and there I am standing in this lounge room wearing ah, flannelette pyjamas, with flowers on them clutching a bunch of flowers my mum had given me and it was a really chaotic Friday night.”

IMAGES: Donna is shown walking down a corridor next to a shadowy figure in a dark coat. The camera is blurry and wobbly. 

“There seemed to be lots of quite unwell people there. There was noise, colour, commotion; all this going on.  It was just quite – ah - horrific really. 

“So, finally somebody walked past and he said, “Are you ok love?” and it turns out it was a patient. 

“and he just said to me “Are you ok love?” and suddenly I was being treated as a person again and that somehow gave me a bit of strength.”

IMAGES: Donna talks in front of a whiteboard filled with text. She’s then shown sitting next to a woman with dark brown hair, showing her a document. The woman with brown hair is nodding. 

“What I realised sitting there was that I’d, I’d gone in as an educated woman umm a mother, a daughter, a sister umm you know a strong capable person with lots of different talents but walking through those doors I’d been reduced to being someone who wasn’t well.

IMAGES: Donna stands in front of a wall which had beautiful aboriginal artwork in shades of green and blue. The image includes a bird soaring over a river. 

“So, I had the week in the mental health unit and then I had to go back to work and that was the hardest walk that I’ve ever done from the carpark, to walk up to the front doors of my work.”

IMAGES: Donna stands in a car park taking deep breaths. 

“I just so didn’t want to be there, because I was worried about um, you know people asking questions.  I was scared of people’s reaction if they knew.” 

IMAGES: Donna is shown talking and laughing with a colleague. Her colleague is sitting opposite her at a table. 

“But ah what I found over time was, when you are brave enough to ah be honest yourself, you find that often other people are in similar situations.

“So that was the start of me kind of coming out of from the shadow of, of stigma and prejudice.”

IMAGES: Donna is shown talking to the woman with dark brown hair and looking at the document together. 

“Unless you are the person sitting in that bed you know in a general hospital or on the mental health unit you don’t really know the quality of the service you are providing.  The wonderful thing about lived experience and peer support is there’s no expert in the relationship.  We are equals and we are learning from each other and you support each other on the good days and the bad days.

“I think it’s important to break stigma around mental illness because you never know if one day it’s going to be you.” 

IMAGES: Donna is shown again sitting in the chair and talking to the camera. 

“You know we need to be accepting of people who have what we call personality disorders. People with bipolar, or people with schizophrenia.  We need to be accepting of all of these people and realise that many of them are in high-flying jobs, they’ve got families; they are your neighbours and um just break down that stigma so that’s there's no shame.  
 
“Cause the worst thing you can do when you are feeling unwell and distressed is to be carrying this burden of shame with you as well.”

IMAGES: The screen fades to white.  Writing appears which says ‘It’s Time to Talk about Mental Health’. The next screen says for support contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue; The final screen says To find out more search www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

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