Advocating for mental health
Debra Lampshire waited 18 years for health professionals to heal her, but in the end realised the only person who could do that was herself.
The 58-year-old is now at the forefront of attitude change surrounding mental health service provision in New Zealand.
Lampshire has been selected as a finalist in the Making a Difference category of the 2016 Attitude Awards.
The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis with disability and chronic health.
Lampshire has made a difference within the mental health system drawing on personal experiences.
At 17, she was committed to the former Kingseat Psychiatric Hospital in Karaka and was having episodes of psychosis.
‘‘I used mental health services for over 30 years, I was institutionalised for 18 of those 30 and was able to eventually overcome the anxiety and madness which had plagued me for decades.’’
Lampshire had a chance encounter in a boarding house which made her realise that her biggest ally was herself.
‘‘[A visitor] said that in regards to restoration ‘all that’s needed is a bit of care and it will work’.’’
Lampshire, who now lives in Mt Roskill, has gone on to use her experiences from living at Karaka to help others.
‘‘I have had the privilege of transferring those 30 years of the lived experience of madness, of voice hearing and isolation into working with others who find themselves enmeshed or who are starting their own journey …’’
Lampshire is now a professional teaching fellow at the University of Auckland and a consumer educator through the Auckland District Health Board.
She is employed by the DHB as a project manager for the Psychological Interventions for Enduring Mental Illness project
Lampshire is advocating for better services for mental health sufferers.
‘‘Our current system is underresourced and has a workforce that is undervalued and much maligned which is a parallel process to the experiences of service users in the community.’’
Lampshire will find out if she has won the award on November 29 at the gala.
Go to attitudelive.com to vote and check out the profiles of the other finalists.
Debra Lampshire is a finalist in the Attitude Awards.