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Voices from within

Tamara Stillwell

Seeing the mental health system throught the eyes of the patient brings valuable insight into why some practices are more effective than others. I have spent the last 7 years as a patient suffering from mental illness, and in that time I have been admitted to several psychiatric facililties. I have seen over a dozen doctors and therapists and I have encountered serveral types of 'treatments' for a revolving door of diagnoses. What I have found from my own experiences, and observing and talking to my fellow patients is that we often share common feelings, responses, frustrations, and successes towards various menthods, but these reactions are often unrealized by the patients, and even less disclosed to their overseeing medical practitioners. Without this understanding progression towards wellness becomes an even greater task, and often locks the individual into the perpetual role of being the patient set up to fail. Psychiatry presents its own unique challenges in the medical world, and for the patient it is often a confusing and difficult journey filled with what seems to be insurmountable hurdles, and shame as we battle not only our own illness, but the stigma of society, and a system that needs to remember that we are people first and patients second. I am fortunate that after years of struggling, I finally found professionals that treated me as a person first and my journey towards wellness began. So what made the difference? Hear it from within.

24-28 August 2011 Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Harbour, Australia.
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Tamara Stillwell
Tamara Stillwell
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Tamara Stillwell

I hold a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in art. I own and run a company called Living Wise Education that creates, publishes and delivers educational curriculum. I am currently doing a graduate certificate in Community Development and Social work, and I work part-time as a community development officer.

I have been happily married for 18 years and have two teenage children.

I also suffer from disassociate identity disorder and have been an active patient in the Australian mental health system for nearly 10 years. For several years I was wrongly diagnosed, poorly medicated and at times treated terribly by mental health professionals as well as suffering the social stigma of having a mental illness. I now have an excellent team of professionals in which I receive excellent care. However, going through this experience had made me passionate about helping people with mental illness to navigate the difficulties of our mental health system, as well as helping professional to understand what best helps patients as individuals and why, and working to remove the social stigma of mental health from our modern society.

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Australia Society for Psychological MedicineANZAPWorld Council for PyschtherapyPACFABrisbane Institute of Strength Base PraticeISHHR - International Society for Health and Human RightWAS - World Association for Sexual HealthMissing of HopeAABCAPSTARTTSANSA