REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Regional Australia: Mental health, a journey not to be overlooked

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend.

Roy with the motorbike he'd been riding when he was engulfed by bush fire on the NSW Mid North Coast last November. Photo: Mel Leigh Dee

Roy with the motorbike he'd been riding when he was engulfed by bush fire on the NSW Mid North Coast last November. Photo: Mel Leigh Dee

The year 2020 will be remembered as one of many challenges.

Since the bushfires over summer, we've had little time to regroup before the uncertainty ramped up again with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

It's raised many concerns around the regions about people's mental wellbeing and if they are getting the care they need.

In a harrowing fight for life, bushfire survivor Roy Annesley's story of survival is a testament to the human will to carry on.

In November 2019 Roy attempted to outrun flames on his motorbike in a bid to get back to his property to save his dog and his sheep.

Fires destroyed his home and he hasn't seen his dog since. Understandably, after losing his house, dog, sheep, ute, bike, and sustaining life-altering burns to half his body, Roy has his good days and his bad.

His mental health is up and down, but he refuses to let his circumstances own him.

"I've got too much to do ... I didn't think about how to survive, I just did it," he said to Nambucca Guardian News journalist Mel Leigh Dee.

The fight with mental illness takes many forms for many people.

For 24-year-old Brodie Cramer, his fight has become a mission to turn his mental health journey into inspiration.

With his mum by his side, or rather behind the camera, Brodie has taken to social media to share his story in what became a series of videos to help others on their mental health journey.

Glenroi Heights Public School teacher Cameron Cowan also shares Brodie's sentiments around mental health and will be spending the July school winter holidays driving 3000 kilometres across NSW raising awareness.

He will be joined by his Newcastle mate Matt Beaven and they have a plan set to visit all the Royal Hotels across NSW in less than two weeks.

More stuff happening around Australia ...

Sign up to get our Voice of Real Australia updates straight to your inbox