Beyond Blue sat down with Greg, who shared his thoughts on using the Beyond Blue Support Service.
Why did you first contact the Beyond Blue Support Service?
Greg: It was about 11 years ago. I was in the middle of a rather large crisis. I had an undiagnosed health condition, I wasn't sleeping because of my two children, one and three, who didn't sleep, and there was a huge workplace issue.
It was a combination of horrible events with undiagnosed mental health issues. So basically, I was in dire straits at that point and struggling badly. So I called.
What was your first experience like?
Greg: The first thing I said was ‘I don’t know why I’m calling you.’ And they were very calm, very gentle. They asked if I wanted to talk about something else. I said no and hung up. I told myself that it was stupid, that I didn’t need that type of help.
I don’t know why but it stuck with me. About a week later, I called again. It's hard to describe from a phone call but I just felt that it was safe and warm and comfortable. They weren’t saying anything in-depth, but I just felt heard. Which was just... lovely.
I cried a fair bit on the phone. I was very confused and lost. But they just had a chat with me and when I hung up, I felt better.
It was probably the first time I said out loud that I was struggling. That’s why it was significant. If it's an internal dialogue, nothing happens. But when you say it out loud, it’s real.
Was the experience what you expected it to be?
Greg: I had no preconceptions about what it was like. I imagine I was like a lot of people – if you don't admit there's a problem, why would you consider using that service?
What did I think was going to happen? I didn't know.
Was I happy afterwards? Yes I was.
How many times have you used the Beyond Blue Support Service?
Greg: I’ve only used the phone service twice but I’ve used lots of the other services when I was researching doctors and psychiatrists. Once I became more open about my mental health, I started using the website for research and as a resource to help others.
I became a Blue Voices member, and now volunteer as a Beyond Blue Speaker too. Two years ago, I set up a men’s mental health support group through my kids’ local primary school. We used a lot of Beyond Blue’s information to guide that, and I know that some of those guys called the support service as a result.
If someone was considering calling the Beyond Blue Support Service, what would you say to them?
Greg: There’s no harm in dialing. It's better to have called and not need it, as opposed to not calling at all.
And It’s not just for people who are struggling. If you're worried about someone else, you should call.
If you’re going through a hard time right now, the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 for brief counselling.
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