Removing the taboo of mental illness

by Jade McGarry

REMI drawing an enthusiastic crowd at the Grande
Photo cred: Dylan Crawford

Finally, it feels like we can talk about mental illness and it’s about bloody time.

The struggles faced by people silently enduring the pain of mental illness are enormous and tragic, with more that 1300 Australians killing themselves each year.

In light of this horrifying statistic, it is vital that we bring these issues into the conversation, and many of the Woodford Folk Festival speakers are doing this, by openly sharing their personal experiences.

One of the incredible leaders in sparking this discussion is former mental health clinician, Aaron Williams.

He graced the Woodford Folk Festival stage this year to discuss the secrets to being happier, healthier and more productive, and removing the taboos that still surround talking about mental health.

“I can openly discuss the issues with my knees or arms, but the moment it becomes about my mental health, I need to whisper and feel a sense of shame,” Aaron Williams says.

“This really needs to change; the results are leaving people isolated and unable to communicate.

“We need to assess our mental health, and there is nothing negative about that.”

REMI telling audiences it’s ok to be honest about your mental health. Photo Dylan Crawford

Communicating with audiences about mental health certainly involves a little extra care and thought, especially in such a relaxed party environment like Woodford Folk Festival.

Reminding audiences that it is okay to be honest and open about mental health, is a movement that is being nurtured here at the festival.

Capturing audiences with their gentle, honest approach to the issue, Melbourne hip-hop duo REMI touched on the subject during their set at the ‘Grande.’

“This one is for all of you who have had a rough year, there is so many of us that have suffered from mental illness,” REMI said.

“Here you can express yourself with dance and groove to understand that is okay, and we have a community here that supports you.”

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