Video Transcript

Danni Di Toro talks mental health with Beyond Blue about the gratitude mindset and dealing with setbacks


Brad McEwan: I'm here with Danni de Toro, Danni tell us why it's so important for people with a disability to speak about their mental health.

Danni Di Toro: I think it's important to start with the fact that there are 1 in 5 people in Australia that have a disability and we know from the research there's more mental health issues within that community. For me it's super important to speak about my mental health.

Brad McEwan: You mentioned these statistics there, how has mental health impacted on you?

Danni Di Toro: Mental health is, is all of it, isn't it? Like, you know we were born into a life and life is very challenging. For me, having an accident was its own real shift at 13. Being in a high elite level sport at such a young age, the perception was that I had it all under control.

I was doing Year 12. I was trying to get into a degree that required really high scores. I had just made my first Paralympic team in Barcelona in 92.

There were incredible expectations on me. When you feel that you don't have a community around you where you feel like how you actually feel isn't being supported or validated and there isn't a support network for that. For me it got to a place where I felt there was incredible hopelessness and real helplessness and that's a really scary place to be.

I feel quite shocked about that because now I feel like life is really precious and I feel like I'm so grateful to have the life that I have.

Brad McEwan: Mental illness can creep up on you, can’t it?

Danni Di Toro: That's an experience that everyone can relate to in a way one way or another. We know community is the most protective force out there.

For me, it's about reaching out being a little bit vulnerable and putting yourself out there. You know, sometimes it's the first person you speak to isn't the best person to speak to and it's important to keep working until you find the right person who is prepared to take that journey with you.

Beyond Blue is a great example. Any of those help lines are really good examples of places that you can pick up a phone and speak to anyone you don't have to divulge all of that stuff that can put you at risk that some people can feel like they're at risk if they speak too much about what's going on in their mental health.

Brad McEwan: I think we wear any physical ailment we have like a badge of honour and yet we don't open up about our mental health do we? There's such an emphasis on our physical well-being but not our mental well-being.

Danni Di Toro: And for me that's a big part of it. Can we speak about mental health in the same way that we speak about our physical health? I know that when I am performing at my best, that's when I'm actually mentally at my healthiest and that's not an easy balance that requires a lot of support networks conversation and communication.

Brad McEwan: The narrative surrounding mental health is getting stronger and stronger. What do you hope that people can take out of it, going forward?

Danni Di Toro:: My hope is that down the track, we're not even having this conversation anymore. I want to be able to get to a point where that's a safe place for everyone and that we can all build upon that each and every day. You don't have to solve the world's problems for people but to be able to just be able to hear them, to spend time with them, to be present to them, is really powerful.

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