Earlier this year, Beyond Blue released its first ever podcast series – Not Alone. The series consists of six episodes, each one based on a popular discussion topic from the online forums. NSW Speaker Cecile was one of the Speakers chosen who had a connection with the specific topic of isolation. This podcast came at a time when it was needed most: during a pandemic.
“I was able to lend a voice to many people who had or are going through the same journey, especially migrants, international students, and people from multicultural backgrounds.”
Something shared by all Beyond Blue speakers, Cecile has a strong passion for mental health and wants others to know that they’re not alone if they are struggling. It’s just one of the many reasons that led her to apply to become a Speaker for Beyond Blue.
Not only does she hope to continue to raise awareness and normalise conversations around mental health, Cecile also has a particular passion around helping others who come from a culturally and linguistically diverse community, just like herself.
“From my experience, there are cultural barriers to seeking help and we need to address these in our communities.”
Cecile volunteers as much as she can with Beyond Blue, so when the invitation to become a Virtual Community Connecter to promote the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service was circulated, Cecile was one of the first to come forward and offer her help wherever she could.
“It’s such a valuable resource and it’s FREE! I promoted it to educational providers and multicultural organisations, and they’re very thankful!”
Cecile also does as much as she can sharing the message of mental health recovery, wellbeing, and self-care through her social media and Facebook page (Perpetual Ponderer’s Mental Health Tips) and admits that it keeps her busy in the best kind of way.
She has also been one of the many speakers who has shared her story virtually since the program has transitioned into virtual events. Although she was initially worried that it would be difficult to connect with people through a screen, she was pleasantly surprised by how well it was received.
The virtual opportunity also allowed Cecile to share her story to the women from the Deputy Spouses Club in Canberra, which was really exciting for Cecile as she has only done Sydney events previously.
“They got so comfortable with me that we had a very open and warm Q&A after my speech. I think if you are authentic in your storytelling, the message will still carry through the medium.”
Technology has not only become the new norm in our Speaker Program, but it has also been the new way of sticking to our everyday routines. These days, to stay on top of her mental health, Cecile ensures she remains connected with family and friends whether that be physically (if possible) or virtually. Similarly, technology has provided the opportunity to participate in online workout classes and connect with people during a time of social distancing.
“I am now closer to my gym buddies and instructors, thanks to Zoom!”
Cecile is pleased to see mental health conversations slowly becoming more normalised. Especially now, with the impact that COVID-19 is having on everyone at the moment.
“I am thankful for the spotlight that is on mental health right now because of COVID-19. It’s about time we take mental health more seriously.”
If there was one thing that Cecile would like her audience to take away from her talk, it would be the message of hope and the importance of seeking help early.
“My life started after depression! But remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination.”
Even during a pandemic, Cecile continues to challenge herself to allow for personal growth and further learning around mental health and is currently studying a Diploma of Mental Health to learn more and to help others.