Anx­i­ety trou­bles a les­son to share

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS -

MIKE An­der­son knows first-hand how im­por­tant it is for young peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health is­sues to seek help.

The Fremantle man has been named as one of 21 new Headspace Youth Na­tional Ref­er­ence Group mem­bers.

Mr An­der­son, who is now 21, found headspace four years ago when he was in high school and hav­ing prob­lems with anx­i­ety.

“In Year 12, the pres­sure of get­ting good marks and all the ex­pec­ta­tions ex­ac­er­bated things for me,” he said.

“I re­mem­ber call­ing the Fremantle headspace af­ter an exam that I felt like I bombed; I passed with 53 per cent.

“I was sweat­ing and shak­ing even though it was in mid-June but the per­son on the line treated me as though they be­lieved me and I felt that was im­por­tant.

“They never made me feel like I was mak­ing it up and that helped me make the next steps.

“I was then re­ferred to a doc­tor and a psy­chol­o­gist.”

Mr An­der­son has been part of the Fremantle ref­er­ence group but the op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved in the na­tional group will en­able him to guide what headspace does around the coun­try.

“The lo­cal group ad­vises the cen­tre – be­cause it’s a youth-based ser­vice, you need young peo­ple in­volved – and for me it was an op­por­tu­nity to learn,” he said.

“The na­tional ref­er­ence group then blows up what the lo­cal group does on a big­ger scale and we have in­put on projects and ser­vices as well as im­prov­ing our skills.

“When I recog­nised I had anx­i­ety I didn’t do any­thing ini­tially be­cause I was fear­ful but I want peo­ple to know their ex­pe­ri­ence is valid.

“I want peo­ple to know if they aren’t feel­ing right, they can reach out and headspace will lis­ten.”

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