Kerrie shares her story for Mental Health Week

Woman holding holding small dog outside in park
Fiona Stanley Hospital Consumer Carer Advisory Group Member Kerrie Julien-Vincent with dog Eddie
October 11, 2017

“I am a survivor. What I have experienced has tested my strength – mentally, physically and spiritually. I was subjected to abuse from a young age at the hands of some of my relatives.

With my mother’s encouragement, I joined a theatre group and loved it. I wrote songs and sang in a few bands. Being involved in the arts saved me from suicide attempts many times.

Mum died when I was 17. She was only 38. Suddenly, the glue that was holding our family together was gone. I was forced to quit school and theatre, and help run my father’s business. I used drugs to numb what I was feeling.

Eventually, I realised I needed to cut negative influences out of my life and distanced myself from my family. I had a choice to live or die. I went to a doctor who put me on a mental health care plan and helped me take charge of my own recovery.

The birth of my eldest son had a huge impact on who I am today. I call him “my gift from heaven in ‘97”. I now have two beautiful sons and I fight hard to lead by example.

I set out goals and make plans to achieve them. I love planning holidays, doing courses, socialising and taking care of my loved ones. My dog, Eddie, is a rescue dog who suffered severe social anxiety. We keep each other healthy by going for walks and enjoying each other’s company. He brings me great joy.

I became a peer support worker so I can help others experiencing their own mental health difficulties. I now sit on the Consumer Carer Advisory Group for Fiona Stanley Hospital’s Mental Health Service. I’m so fortunate to be involved in this committee as we are doing great things for the community.

Mental health needs to be taken seriously. The social stigma can be a major hindrance if you let it get to you. Now I’m in a good place and I can safely say that recovery is possible. I’m proof of that.”

- Kerrie Julien-Vincent, Consumer Carer Advisory Group Member, Fiona Stanley Hospital