Vicki's story

Vicki Schramko has seen mental illness from many sides: she has lived through the ups and downs of her own bipolar condition; cared for her husband through his debilitating depression; and now, at the age of 72, has become a mental health peer worker.

Chris's story

It was his decision, at age 21, to walk away from a job in finance to work at a summer camp in the United States that helped Chris Grumley set his life in a new, positive direction.

“It was a turning point. I was thrown into the deep end. I’d worked so hard to create this person after my mental health issues, the person I thought I was supposed to be, but at the camp I could reset. I could be who I really was,” Chris says.

He spent five months at the camp, supporting children from disadvantaged areas of Chicago.

Case study: Central Coast Older Persons Peer Support (CCOPPS) program

A unique peer worker program developed on the NSW Central Coast is helping revolutionise the way older clients interact with those supporting their mental health journey.

They count among their ranks a career accountant, a retired engineer and the former CEO of a multinational charity.

Yet in addition to bringing decades of professional experience to the table, this inspiring group of individuals are also using their own lived experiences of both ageing and mental illness to provide inspiration and support for those who require it most.

Erin's story

Through managing her mental health issues for 14 years, Erin has learned that her thoughts, concerns and past experiences are essential to her recovery.

First diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 14 years old, Erin was assigned a treatment plan that made her feel like her clinicians were treating a physical illness.

“There was a mentality that you would take the medication, go to therapy, and then you’ll be cured.

Lerida House, run by Central Coast ARAFMI, is a unique property which provides respite for mental health consumers and carers in the region.


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