Simone Andrewartha

I'm putting One Foot Forward Together for mental health

On 15 May 2021, I will put One Foot Forward Together and walk with my community in Melbourne for Black Dog Institute to support mental health.

I am doing this because one in five Australians are affected by mental illness each year, and roughly 60% of people with a mental illness do not seek help.  

Did you know that just one hour of exercise a week helps prevent depression? Walking at One Foot Forward Together helps to remove the stigma around mental illness and create a mentally healthier world.

Please donate today. Whatever you can spare will make a MASSIVE difference.

If you want to join me, please do! The more the merrier. Just click on the homepage for more info!

Thank you SO MUCH!

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Ben's Legacy: A piece written for my work colleagues on loss, bereavement and mental health.

Tuesday 30th Mar

So 2020 was a pretty crap year right? A pandemic which resulted in many losses; freedom, jobs, income. For my family 2020 was a year that changed our lives forever.

I won’t bore you with endless statistics but it’s fair to say that what also resulted from 2020 was an increase in calls to support organisations like Beyond Blue, mental illness at an all time high and of course people who made the decision to end their lives.  Statistically, three times more men take their lives each year than women.

Benjamin became one of those statistics.  This is how I would describe Ben:

22, tall, handsome (yeah, I’m biased), clever, shy, a little socially awkward, sweet, kind.

I’ve never heard Ben speak badly of another person. He still kissed his grandfather when he visited. He called me “mamma” even at 22.  Yes, I am this beautiful soul’s mum.

On June 25, 2020 I got the call that no parent ever wants to receive.  My only son had left us without any warning.  There were no signs.  No history of mental illness.  He was not medicated for depression. No letter to help us understand why.  What was left was questions and guilt (I should have known, I’m his mother), anger (how could he leave his dad, his two sisters and I), pain and a broken heart that will never mend.  A piece of me is missing and always will be.  Heads up, don’t ever tell a grieving parent “time heals all wounds” or put a time limit on their grief.  Losing my son is a life sentence.

In the last 8 months I have attended a Mental Health First Aid course, joined support groups, and made friends with other grieved parents.  There are so many stories identical to mine.  I want to help others and support them but there was a question I could not reconcile with myself.  How could I help someone who may be suicidal when I didn’t even know my own son was?

After a lot of talking and listening, I came to the conclusion that if a person does not want to discuss their mental health then there is little we can do about that.  I think the problem stems from the stigma around mental health and that it is something to be ashamed of.  This is particularly apparent amongst men. 

How can a bloke be vulnerable when they grew up believing that they had to be Superman?  Living with sayings like “man up”, “boys don’t cry” or “what are you? A sissy?”.  In my heart I believe that Ben was ashamed of the way he felt.  He may have thought that he wasn’t normal.  He didn’t want to burden us with his issues.  He was a proud young man.  Obviously, these are the conclusions I have had to come to because I still don’t understand.  I will never know. 

If I had one thing to say to you it would be this: Your mental health is just as important as your physical health; your heart, your stomach, your back.  If you break your arm, you get a cast set.  If you have high blood pressure you change your diet or medicate. Why is it that your mental health doesn’t matter?  Is it because others can’t see it?

Please don’t be a statistic.  Please don’t think there is no help available.  Please don’t believe that there is any shame in feeling sad, being medicated, seeking assistance, or just talking to a mate about what is making it difficult for you to get out of bed each day and function ‘normally’.

Look out for your kids, your partners, your mates.  Look for any signs, anything that is out of character for them.  Take the time to really ask “are you ok?” and then listen.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.  We all need to be heard.

Feel free to reach out to me.  I love a chat and I will listen.

Simone – Ben’s mum (0428 224 776)

Thank you to my Sponsors

$515

Dave N Jen

Saint 😇 Ben

$208

Harris Charalambous

Miss you man. Gone but never forgotten.

$208

Lina Mezzadra

For you Ben 😘💛

$140

Marcelle Cacciattolo

Dear Simone we are all here to support your walk in memory of Ben. Marcelle and Gennaro x

$104

Rose Rolfe

I wish I was there to walk with you. I will be thinking of you

$104

Joz & Lisa Parnis

With Love to you all xxxx

$104

Jen

More than happy to support you and this organization. In memory of Ben. Lots of Love ❤️

$104

Nicholas Wu

Luminous human beings ❤️

$104

Koby And Max

Love you Mona xx

$100

Simone Andrewartha

$52

Dee Dee Verlinde

Love you, Sim. ❤ For you, Ben. xo

$52

Jeffrey Andrewartha

Hi Sim, we have donated, Mum and Dad xxx

$52

Anonymous

Thinking of you all xx

$52

Natalie Drazic

I wish I could join you but I cannot get out of working Saturday’s unfortunately. I am always thinking of you sim. ❤️

$52

Tanya Cacciattolo

Thinking of you all Simone....lots of love auntie Margaret and Tanya xx

$52

Steph Ritchie

Thinking of you - won’t be able to walk in Melbourne on the day, but will do so here in The Netherlands in honour of Ben xx

$52

Dianne

For an amazing young man

$50

Ricky Hartson

What a brilliant way to honour Ben and make a difference to such an important cause. One step forward. Love you Sim. Love Rick x

$50

Di Campbell

good luck

$40.56

Tiff

$40.56

Romilda Jones

Stay strong Simone we are thinking of you and we send our love.

$40.56

Vivianne Hadla

$40.56

Tom Tighe

Great cause, and you were not at all biased, a good looking young man, walk on.

$31.20

David Cronin

$26

Bruce Cousins

$20.80

Alyce Jones

Good luck Sim x

$20

Giuseppina Di Conza

$15.60

Anonymous

$2.16

Simone Andrewartha