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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Hearing Voices 24/7

Bloggy mates, I promise to post something bright and cheery soon - but this won't be it! However, I suggest that this will be an experience you won't forget.  

Unless you, your family or your friends are among the one in four of those who have had a bout of mental illness in their lives, you won't know much about it.  Or, at least you won't be able to fully empathise with a person who has had a brush with psychosis.

Mel is a young Australian girl who was dux of her school until psychosis struck seven years ago. Since then, her life has never been the same.  

A little while ago Mel met a presenter from the Australian Broadcasting Commission's youth radio station Triple J and told her story on video.  It's an absolute blow-out. 

Judge for yourself:  

Come back after you watch and leave a comment on your feelings ...

Also, bloggy mates, please spare a thought for Mel's parents and all of those families confronted by these problems.  

And if you know anyone affected personally, you may like to contact the Hearing Voices Network website.  

The head office is in Manchester England: The NSW Australia group established by Mel's father also has a site:

How did you feel after this experience?
You may feel a little hollow right now, but I'd wager that you feel, as I do, that we understand many of our fellow human beings a lot better now.  


  1. Thank you for this,you are sweet,wonderful spirit.Kind regards from Aleksandra :O)

  2. Hi June, This is a great video. It makes me feel sad for her. It is also scary. I knew a boy like this back in the 80s when I had my store. He was in his 20s and lived at home with his parents. The first few years I was there, he came in the store and was fine, friendly, etc. Then, he started hearing voices. He would talk to someone constantly. He would be standing at the counter paying for something and start laughing and talking to someone. I guess the voice he heard. He eventually tried to kill his father and said the voice told him to do it. The family did not press charges but I think they got him the help he needed. I heard after I moved away that he was on disability and getting help and still living at home. It is just so sad when something like this happens. This is a problem that needs to be recognized by us all.

  3. Wow very touching. Sensitivity is important.

  4. Dear God in heaven, my heart breaks for these folks. We have two daughter with BP, thank you God it is no worse than that. It is bad enough, I am an advocate for mental health issues.

  5. I think we should all have some contact with people who have some sort of 'mental illness' as you put it. It helps with understanding and tolerance. And makes me realise how lucky I am and makes me feel a little humble too.

    The challenge with it is that you cannot see physical symptoms and it is difficult to draw a line between a condition and personality because the one effects the other.

  6. OMG June, what a horrible illness! It's like something out of a novel though not for the poor folk suffering like this girl. It's so difficult to know what else to say or do...

    The only 'good' thing I can think of to say is that at least now people with this kind of illness are looked upon with some kind of understanding and investigation of what treatment can be used. They are not just locked away out of sight in straight-jackets in case folk will 'catch' something from them - if ya know what I mean!

    In time maybe we will be able to understand more about how to 'really help' patients like this and hopefully end this torture they suffer. Like probably thousands of 'sympathetic' ears I also can only sympathise and hope that this torture will be helped soon by some new drug or treatment...

    Great post (as usual).
    Hugs, Kate x.

  7. Hi Alexandra - you aren't so bad yourself! (Australians are the masters of understatement.)
    Happy days.

  8. Dear kind hearted JUDY
    Mental illness can sometimes mean that families seem to lose a loved one who is generally particularly sensitive and intelligent.

    They can be the person they know and adore one month who can change in no time at all.

    The important thing is, of course, that the beloved is still there - it's now a matter of separating them from the effects of the illness and loving the old person for whom they are still.

    Your story is a sad one - stats show that there is generally no more violence among those suffering mental illness than anywhere else.

    You are so right. Probably most of all the mentally ill require sensitivity and understanding from others during their effort to beat their problems.

    Well done you! We understand each other I reckon. The world needs more of you my friend.

    Wise words.

    Stigma is a huge problem for people with mental illness. That's why so many who understand are speaking more openly about the difficulties. Once people begin understanding society will see the absolute necessity of helping out more.

    Patients with symptoms of a heart attack are given immediate treatment and understanding. People with symptoms of a mental illness often get no help at all.

  12. Hi KATE
    How're you doin mate?

    There are quite good medications out there, but the big problem is that sufferers need good reliable accommodation, jobs, and other services which allow them to live with independence.

    It's amazing how well a lot of people do once these things (plus understanding and a social life) are provided. Like the rest of us, they need to be needed, and useful.

  13. Great post. Mental health issues are something that is still so undiscovered. It will takes years and so much more research before we are able to harness and understand these problems.

    It's a positive step that we are recognising these as real issues now though. Hopefully soon we will understand the mind more. fingers crossed and thanks for the post :-)

    Yes - fingers crossed.

    I believe that the first step will be an awareness by all of us of the need to solve this. To date we have buried our heads in the sand, ignoring the problem and thus allowing those with the purse strings to continue their inaction.

    It's sobering to realise that one in four or five of us suffers a mental illness at some time in our lives.

  15. I am extremely saddened by this and I feel for her. You can tell by her voice that she is so haunted and tired. I couldn't watch the whole thing, but thank you for sharing this.

  16. I once saw a meltdown of my 11-year-old nephew who is autistic. I saw how it affected his mother at home, especially whenever his school called about his meltdowns and requested that she picked him up. This girl, Mel, wanted to die. I can understand that. Unless she had some means to help her commit suicide, like Ramón Sampedro, the Spanish poet who became a quadriplegic at 26 in the movie "The Sea Inside", she would have to live with this psychotic torments until her last day on earth. Ramón did petition the Spanish government to grant him his death wish and was turned down.

  17. Hi Jeve
    I hope the post didn't upset you too much. Maybe sometimes we must face being a little uncomfortable to understand reality.

    This young girl's reality is shared by millions of others on this earth - and we tend to tuck that fact away and ignore it.

    People with mental illness can be helped and it is my hope that we will do more about it. Even understanding how to communicate with someone who is ill is a big plus. There but for an accident of life go I eh?

  18. KHAN HA
    There is hope for people with mental illnesses.
    This can come with support of family and community. They need good treatment, decent accommodation and food, a job they can manage, understanding and love.

  19. This is a great video. It makes me feel sad for her. It is also scary. I knew a boy like this back in the 80s when I had my store.
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  20. Thank you for passing this on to the rest of us, June. How sad for Mel and her family, but what a brave family, too.


  21. Hi CROW
    Thanks for that. Mental illness is such a huge problem and sometimes we tend to forget that real live people are suffering because of it. The more we speak about their needs and their problems the more we will understand.

  22. Thanks for empathising with 'mental illness.' I wish there were more like you!

    Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath would not have evded their lives if you had been around!


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