This week I was able to attend a workshop on mental health and addiction to create a submission for the Government Inquiry.
The room was full with over 100 people who wanted to share their experiences and engage in changing the way we deal with mental health and addiction in NZ.
Tania Jones and Shane Madden facilitated the evening and did an amazing job to create a safe space where there was no judgement and everyone could 100% be themselves and share without fear of repercussions.
This event made my heart sing, because it showed me how far we have come, but it also made my heart cry as I realise how far we still have to go.
It was amazing to see how many people want to be apart of a movement around mental health and addiction, and to know that you aren't alone but have so many people who have their own mental health and addiction experiences that are here to support you. The vibe in the room was so positive, and it was heartening to know there was no judgement or hiding what we've experienced with mental distress and addiction.
However some of the experiences people shared show just how far we still have to go. Many people have been completely failed by healthcare professionals, treated terribly, judged, shamed, bullied, discriminated and more.
One of the questions from the evening asked what sort of society we would like to create. After some thought, I said that I would like to see our societies foster vulnerability, rather than push it aside. I truly believe that if all of us can be vulnerable we will be a lot more open to each other and create connected communities where we actually know and support each other, rather than put walls up and pass judgement on others.
The good news is we are making progress.