Speaker spotlight:Josette

Josette M Colour

Please be aware that Speaker Spotlight stories often share experiences related to anxiety, depression and/or suicide. If needed, we encourage you to reach out to your available supports such as family, friends or support services like Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 

NSW-based Speaker Josette joined the Speakers program back in 2018 – almost four years ago. She is currently studying medicine and health, and is looking forward to graduating as a doctor in 2024! Outside the academic world, you’ll find Josette running, reading, watching movies, listening to music, and hanging out with her cat Honey. This year she has also taken up the piano and martial arts.

In late high school, Josette was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, but when she looks back, she reflects that her mental ill health most likely began much earlier in her childhood. Josette’s recovery was not linear, but a combination of psychotherapy and medication became the pillars of her mental wellbeing. She reflects: “Today I feel the strongest I have ever been. I feel that I have my own personal toolkit consisting of psychological skills and my support network to help get through the ups and downs of mental illness, no matter what life brings.”

Josette was motivated to become a speaker and share her story so that she can help people to not feel like they’re struggling alone, like she did for so long. She loves being a speaker, especially when she can have meaningful, sometimes life-changing, discussions at the end of a talk.

“A standout moment that I will never forget was when a member of the audience privately shared with me that my story resonated with their experiences, and that they have therefore decided to seek help. Goosebumps!”

Before or after an event, Josette likes to listen to music or go for a walk or run to allow her to gather her thoughts or reflect on her experience. Josette believes in the power of self-care and self-love, and her advice to other speakers is: “Be proud of yourself - by helping at least one other person, your story will be changing the world for the better. Plus, you’ll be tackling stigma and prompting a cultural change, which is huge.”

The message Josette wants the audience to take away from her talk is an understanding that their mental health experience is real and valid and that everyone is deserving of support. She encourages people to speak up and have that first conversation to kickstart the path to recovery.