Stories: Stephanie de la Hayes

stephanie de la HayeStephanie de la Hayes, Executive Chair & Founder at Survivors of Depression in Transition and Expert by Lived Experience on the working group for this project, tells us more about her experiences

After 30 years of using mental health services, I have been subjected to a range of interactions from health professionals from the appalling to the fantastic. Those who fall into the fantastic, have gone beyond their roles and have made the difference (sometimes critical) to my personal wellbeing.

Being treated as a person - a human being, not just a case file – is fundamental to this relationship. While of course there may be pressures, when this happens, wow, it makes for continued engagement and trust is developed. To lose that trust takes so much more work and time to reclaim.

On the opposite end, my experience of being ignored, discriminated against, and just to say “oh its one of those people post overdose”, has been so destructive and diminishes trust. While this is less common, these things still happen.

It’s important that mental health professionals are honest with themselves and others, stamp out this behaviour and don’t get into the habit of “oh well we have always done it like that”. Change, Review, Implement, Refine, Deliver.

If I were to give advice on this topic I’d say: see the person not the illness, be family centred and look after yourself - as you are a person too.

It’s the human skills and emotional intelligence that makes the difference, not just how well you can give out pills.  Teamwork, positive relationships and great communication. Take a step back and be mindful. 

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