“The facilities make you feel like you’re worthless. It makes me feel like my mental health issues are in some way my fault.”
Emma* is proud of where she is today. She’s bright, funny, engaging, exceptionally articulate and about to embark on tertiary study. But her journey hasn’t been easy.
“Without mental health services I would not be where I am today,” says Emma.
Emma has experienced first-hand Canterbury’s mental health services and in particular, the facilities at the Child, Adolescent and Family outpatient service. With help she has learnt to manage her ADHD, a neurodevelopmental disorder, and the depression, anxiety and self-harm it triggered.
Her mental health journey is not something she wants to feel ashamed of.
“I face stigma on a daily basis because I choose not to hide my scars. I don’t believe people should have to hide mental health issues.”
But Emma says in some ways, the state of some of our mental health outpatient facilities makes her feel that stigma is warranted.
“You’ve got mental health services for children on the site of an abandoned hospital – doesn’t that just sound like a horror movie! The CAF team have done their best to make it more friendly but it’s hard to get past the general feeling of the place…it seems intimidating and hostile. And you have little kids in waiting rooms with teenagers who may be distressed. I remember how scared I felt when I went to CAF for the first time. I can’t imagine what it would be like for a little kid.