Psychology & Research Ambassador
Q: What are your goals for Equally Well? What inspires you about Equally Well?A: Equally Well represents an important coming together of key stakeholders…including key policy makers…with a consumer voice at its center. It gives me, as a researcher, opportunity to use research to contribute to improving the physical health of people living with a mental health condition. I want to undertake and communicate the findings of research in a way that can make a difference, and I hope Equally Well can help me do that.
Q: How do you see Equally Well benefiting carers/consumers/practitioners?A: Equally Well provides a vehicle for raising the profile of the issue and keeping it on the agenda. In bringing together key stakeholders it allows for a sharing of perspectives…most importantly, consumers and carers being able to communicate how they experience the issue to practitioners and policy makers and ensuring strategies that are developed are acceptable and meaningful.
Q: What hurdles do you currently see Equally Well facing and will have to face in the future? Is there a particular area you believe needs more focus that Equally Well can develop on?A: General stigma, discrimination and ignorance of mental health conditions, and the challenges faced by consumers and carers. Areas of focus might include the interaction between physical and mental health – the benefits for instance for both mental and physical well-being of supporting people to reduce chronic disease risk behaviours – and a focus on the potential for chronic disease prevention.
Q: What have you personally learnt and has this knowledge impacted your life and/or the lives of those around you?A: I have learnt more about the lack of respect shown to people living with a mental health condition, and the misinformed assumptions and biases within the health care system. I have learnt more about the stereotypes I hold myself. I am in awe of so many people who survive and thrive despite a community which often does not recognise or support their mental or physical health needs.
Q: As an Equally Well Ambassador, you are an advocate for improving the physical health of those who suffer from a mental illness, since the symposium, have there been any new developments or research in your field?A: New developments and research…not necessarily; but Equally Well strengthens our arguments as researchers, for the need for research and research funding in this area. It allows us to say more strongly that there is wide recognition of this issue as a priority for both research and practice.
Q: What do you see is your role for Equally Well as one of our ambassadors?A: To raise awareness of Equally Well and its profile in as many forums as possible, in addition to raising awareness of the issue of physical health for people living with a mental health condition in general. To use research where I can, to make a difference.