Stigma Reduction — 17 August 2015

DEAN Ray knows just how hard it is to live with clinical depression and anxiety.

The 2014 X-Factor runner up yesterday shared his personal experience with Rockhampton youth before performing at the Pilbeam Theatre.

Dean toured Rockhampton’s Headspace facility, which provides mental health support to people aged 12 to 25.

Dean said he struggled with depression for roughly a decade and started self-medicating with alcohol.

“I noticed that I was just a strange kid,” he said.

“My mother had it as well, but we didn’t know what she had. I knew for a long time what I had, but I self-medicated it with alcohol.”

It was through counselling with Headspace that Dean said he was able to break the cycle, but depression and anxiety remain something he deals with on a daily basis.

“Now it’s good to be in the position I’m in to be able to help others,” Dean said.

“Nothing but professional help will help you when you’re struggling.

“Places like this help.

“I learnt all about values and morals and self-appreciation.

“That’s an important thing: you’ve got to be happy with who you are.”

Beyond Blue statistics show one in four Australians aged 16 to 24 are currently experiencing a mental health condition.

Their 2013 research shows young people are most concerned about coping with stress, school or study problems and body image.

If you need to talk to someone, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Headspace on 1800 650 890 or Lifeline on 13 11 14

This article first appeared on ‘The Morning Bulletin’ on 14 August 2015.

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