My name is Lynlee living in New Zealand, I’m 46 years old, a single mother and grandmother with Bi Polar. I am Maori and belong to a population when surveyed showed that just over half of Māori had experienced a mental disorder during their lifetime. After the birth of my first child 26 years ago I suffered what I thought was post natal depression, later I was hospitalized for attempting self-harm, by taking pills to end my life. I was admitted to Porirua Hospital, well known institution for mental health. I took my meds, accepted my Bi Polar label and dared not to speak again about my condition outside my family who had watched me in crisis.

In 2007 I went public about my Bi Polar, and ran for our local district Health Board promoting the fight against stigma of mental illness. About 1200 people voted for me, I was ecstatic the message was getting out in my community. People came up to me in the street and thanked me for raising awareness. I ran again in 2010 and doubled my tally, achieving about 2300 votes. I didn’t make it on the board then either. Now I’m preparing for the 2013 election and promote “bringing change to mind 1 person at a time”. I am heartened in the knowledge I need only touch one person with our message to bring change to mind. I own a telemarketing business, employ 20 plus people, and vigorously exercise equal employment opportunity for job seekers with disabilities. I know the difficulty of getting a job after a mental health crisis and understand the advantages of a diverse work place. I soldier on quietly doing my little bit in my corner of the universe realising a small difference is a start for better things to come.

Glenn Close and her families’ story reinforced to me the ability to help change. Taking the Pledge on your website galvanized my determination to reach out and share the message….. share your story!

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