IN CONVERSATION WITH STORYTELLER SIAN
“There’s a lot to be concerned about in the world, but it’s not always helpful to focus on what’s not working. Instead, I like to focus on thinking positively about how we can pave a way forward. I like to take this mindset to any challenge.
This is aligned to my work in mental health. I work for an organisation that focuses on stories of hope and sharing the lived experience of mental health. I do a lot of work with schools and universities, amplifying the voices of young people.
A lot of evidence points to the fact that public stigma of mental health is shifting— we’re getting a lot better at helping those that are struggling, but we’re still not great at admitting when we are struggling. Stigma of the self is still an issue.
There is a growing prevalence of mental health issues but it’s not clear whether it’s actually a greater problem than it used to be or whether people are more comfortable to make a diagnosis.
There are definitely some unique challenges we are confronting today. Technology is one that people talk about a lot. It prevents us from being able to take time out. This is a particular issue when it comes to bullying and an inability to escape it. But there are positives to technology as well— people are able to reach out quickly and stay more connected when they’re feeling lonely.
I’m hopeful that we will continue to speak out about mental health. I’m hopeful that people will get the support they need sooner. And I’m hopeful that suicide rates will decline.
To me, a more ambitious Australia is hopeful. It is a nation that is focused on looking forward, coming together and finding the things that we can all agree on. We can tackle any social issues if we do so together.
I’m drawn to s p a c e because I like the idea of being around people who can help me to look at things from a different perspective. I think getting out of our normal world and thinking differently is the only way we can make a true impact.”
*Interview and write-up- s p a c e storyteller, Sian Gooden