Words by Bilal Ahmed Syed. Images by Daisy Wu.
It was 6:00pm to 8:00pm when Shine A light On Mental Health took place at Monash University, Caulfield; the event graciously starting off with a band while people were finding their seats. Creating an excellent atmosphere from the entrance to the entire seating area, the space was filled with white and blue lights, the ambiance cool in it’s touch. Snacks were elegantly served on each table, consisting of cupcakes and other pastries. After the band finished and everyone had taken their seats, the main host explained her experiences with mental health: what the event was going to be all about. With a total of five speakers, each openly discussed their mental health experiences and created an incredibly safe space to keep the conversations open.
“Depression is like Melbourne weather…”
The bulk of Shine A Light On Mental Health was spent spreading awareness of how important it is to openly discuss mental health issues and how we can understand them as a community. “Depression is like Melbourne weather” is what the host, Diana Nguyen, had to say when explaining her views on depression. By marketing this event through Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram, there was an attentive crowd from all different backgrounds, listening close to speakers which included Professor Patrick McGorry, Jill Stark, Karekhaa Nayar, and Joel McKerrow. Giving a fantastic speech about their experiences – from being from Mexico, different cultural views on mental health and what difference they felt after having arrived to Australia – there was an undeniable energy that interconnected their stories to create a fortifying message.
With strong resolutions and attentive eyes, it was the fourth speaker, Joel McKerrow, that took the hearts of every attendee in the room by his dramatic poem that dug deep in the issue to the core and revitalised the taboo with strength, love and hope. Overall, each story posed the unifying question: what can we do as a community to assist those who struggle with mental health? And as a community, all onlookers couldn’t help but wonder how they could change the discourse.