TEN LESSONS LEARNED SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE BLACK DOG.

.      A joke about mental illness doesn’t trivialise the issue. It just makes it more approachable.

2.      Talking publicly about your mental illness is neither scary nor brave – just incredibly therapeutic.

3.      The people at the Black Dog are smart. They know education is good, but education plus empathy is better. That’s why their talks are given by people with lived experience.

4.      Mental illness and success are not mutually exclusive. Every person who talks on behalf of the Institute is proof of this.

5.      Best compliment ever? A young woman with bipolar once said, “It made me feel good seeing how old you are.” What she was really saying was, “I feel better knowing you also have bipolar, but haven’t taken your life.”

6.      Mental illness is a fascinating topic and worth chatting about even if you’re the healthiest person on the planet.

7.      Talking about a stay in a mood disorder clinic doesn’t make me sound crazy. It makes the experience sound less threatening.

8.      After a good talk you get a lot of questions. After a really good one, you get people waiting to talk privately.

9.  Nearly every presentation will begin with five IT people gathered around a laptop saying, “That’s funny, it was working earlier”.

Institutions seek Lived Experience speakers from time to time. It’s best to start here:

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

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