Julie Dempsey has more than three decades of experience with the mental health system and says she is here today despite the system, not because of it.
Illness is only ever a few serious stresses and sleepless nights away. You never get back to where you came from, but I have defiantly and gratefully moved forward in my life to a new positive place.
Her experiences have included extensive electroconvulsive therapy, which she says was conducted primarily against her will. At the time, she was ‘certified’ and in a locked ward.
I’d come out of [electroconvulsive therapy] with a splitting headache, confusion, not sure where I was […] your mind becomes quite battered […] you start to submit because you’ve just lost your fight and you’re so confused. You don’t even know your personal self any more […] it takes away your essential sense of being and soul …
Julie describes one of the lowest points of her life, which came when she was put in the back of a police van:
I had been certified by the staff at a hospital emergency department and needed to be transported to a psychiatric unit. As there were no ambulances available, the police van was used instead.
Source: Interim Report, November 2019
Photo: by Zalika Rizmal supplied by ABC News