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Topic: Introducing...the community champions

15 posts, 0 answered
  1. Chris B
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Chris B avatar
    248 posts
    17 February 2015

    Hi everyone,

    Some of you may have noticed that a few of our members are labelled ‘Community champion’ and have a beyondblue National Roadshow bus badge, like this:

     comm-champ

    This thread explains who these members are and what they do.

    Community champions are volunteers within the forums who:

    • Have the time, skills and empathy to support other members
    • Make an effort to welcome new members
    • Are regularly and actively engaged members  that help set the tone of our community as a place of hope and recovery. 

    Click here to find out more about how you can become a Community Champion!  As this is a peer support community that includes members under the age of 18, it is important that we ensure our peer support community leaders have a current 'working with children' check as part of due diligence.  In an online environment with anonymous posters, it also provides Beyond Blue (and the community) with some security as to the identity of who is posting as a community champion.

    We ask our community champions to spend at least 2-3 hours a week posting and responding in the forums, but in reality they go far above and beyond this. 

    Like me, they’re not psychologists or counsellors, just regular folk like yourselves who have experience with anxiety and depression. I’ll leave it to our champion volunteers to reply below and let you know a bit about themselves.

    PS. If this is your first time on the forums and you'd like to introduce yourself, please start a new thread rather than replying in here.
    36 people found this helpful
  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    2112 posts
    17 February 2015 in reply to Chris B

    Hi all,

    I'm 59yo and now forcibly retired due to my issues being bipolar 2, dysthymia, depression and anxiety. The anxiety has been licked after 25 years.

    I grew up in Melbournes western suburbs but my family came from Tasmania. I was deeply unhappy as a child,cried a lot and didnt understand why. I joined the RAAF at 17 and didnt understand why I'd buy and sell cars so often and didnt fit in with the other guys. I was manic and it wasnt detected. I was suffering from the dysthymia but I wasnt diagnosed fully until 2009 at 54 years old. So I know the feeling of endurance with mental illness, the struggles and the plans to end my life.

    Thankfully I also had a positive attitude that arose from motivation lectures and I kind of sprung back into life again.But those 90 cars and 60 jobs with many professions along the way gave me KNOWLEDGE, that I cherish. I may not be able to work but I have this information to spread and assist if I can. Having mental illnesses doesnt mean its all bad news.Mental illness has provided me with empathy, kindness and care, these are the things I can do without feeling drained and tested.Yet if two bills come in the mail at a time I am thrown overboard and need to overcome the stress which takes time.

    I've learned that being fickle doesnt mean you are an idiot. Not fitting into groups doesnt mean as you are not a member of a clique you're are abnormal. It all means that that is you and being yourself is ok.You are unique and you are wonderful and too bad for those that think and judge you otherwise.

    And it's not all about me.

    One of my articles I written here is called "what life's like at the end of the tunnel". It explains the euphoria of surviving into a better world where your illness is managed ok, that your relationship is steady and your day to day life is bordering on normal.

    I've also learned a lot since being here on this forum. Some threads rock me, spark me into enthusiasm or make me realise I'm lucky to have "made it".Such a thread was "think b4 you act" by another member.It was a guys great struggle to endure many operations after a suicide attempt.What a member to share it.

    So making it to the end of that "tunnel" has it many facets - fun, happiness, reminders of the past and what could have been.

    In 2003 I was falsely diagnosed and took the wrong medication for 6 years.Then in 2009 I got a second opinion and never looked back. Life turned around. It can for you to. Here we can be one link in that chain of recovery..

    Tony  WK

    31 people found this helpful
  3. Doolhof
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Doolhof avatar
    914 posts
    22 February 2015 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Everyone,

    I go by the name of Mrs. Dools. I reached out to this site at a time when I was deeply depressed and riddled with stress. I was at my wits end and didn't know where to turn.

    The support, help, advice, care, empathy, and understanding I have received has helped me greatly. I now hope to be able to return all of that to others who are reaching out for understanding and support.

    I've been diagnosed with depression and stress, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, unresolved grief issues and other stuff I have forgotten. I am not these illnesses, they shape my life to some degree but they do not have to determine who I am.

    I'm 50 years old,  I work caring for the elderly, have joined the Country Fire Service, enjoy gardening, many different crafts and would love to do a parachute jump, go for a long ride on a Harley Davidson and try scuba diving.

    Over the years I have relied on alcohol for a while to get me through, had a rather trying marriage to a guy who used me as a punching bag, have lost 5 babies during pregnancy, endured a quite severe back injury, been hospitalised a couple of times due to depression and had plenty of thoughts about suicide.

    Despite those issues, life is fulfilling most of the time! I have my good and bad days like a lot of people, I try to find something to be thankful for each day and that helps me through.

    Mt heart breaks when I read some of the stories that are posted here and I just want to reach through the screen and give that person a hug and to let them know that someone does care.

    Feeling alone and like no one cares can be so devastating. I have a husband of over 20 years, two sisters and my parents are still alive, I have friends also, but sometimes they just don't get it! We all need to feel loved and cared for.

    I'd like to encourage all of you reading this to reach out to someone in your life whom you feel might be struggling right now. If you are having a rough time yourself, let someone know.

    Thanks Beyond Blue for such a wonderful, helpful, supportive site!

    Cheers to you all from Mrs. Dools

    21 people found this helpful
  4. White Rose
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    White Rose avatar
    904 posts
    20 March 2015 in reply to Chris B

    Hello Everyone

    I call myself White Rose on this site. I love music, lots of classical music but I am also a big fan of John Denver and Bryan Adams. Other hobbies include, embroidery, writing, gardening, reading and talking. I emigrated to Australia when I was 25 and I have four children.

    Why am I here? I became depressed many years ago when I separated from my husband. I got over the depression after some years but I found I could easily slip back if I did not look after myself. About three years ago I became involved in a very distressing situation and found myself falling back into the pit called depression.

    As part of my therapy my psychologist set me the task of exploring the Beyond Blue web site. After I found the forum I started to write in about my problems and received so much help and support that I wanted to help others. So I started responding to others who wrote in.

    It has been great to reach out to people and talk about their experiences. I gain as much as the people I respond do, perhaps more, as I learn something new with each person. We are all different even when we have the same diagnosis. I consider myself a work in progress. The end result is not the goal. It's how we get there, how we manage day to day, loving ourselves and others, reaching out to someone in trouble and walking with them.

    Beyond Blue has so many resources to offer and is increasingly educating the public about mental illness. I am honoured to be a champion.

    White Rose

    22 people found this helpful
  5. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    393 posts
    14 July 2015 in reply to Chris B

    Hi guys,

    I'm so honoured to be here in this little goodness of the internet.

    I haven't made many posts in the forum (yet) but I've been a BlueVoices member for some time helping out with behind the scenes stuff like doing surveys and voicing my story and things like that.

    There are a couple of reasons that I really want to be here; and the biggest reason is that I know what it's like.  Ever since I can remember I've dealt with various health issues and mental health issues.  I've had depression, anxiety, PTSD and a small number of physical issues including Epilepsy which still affects me today.  I've had to jump through some pretty big hoops to get to where I am and even though I'm still in 'recovery' mode I know that I can help offer a little bit of insight and optimism knowing that there is truly a light at the end of the tunnel. (as much as I dislike cliches sometimes).

    I also have a bit of experience in working with people with mental health issues; ever since I was little I was always volunteering left right and centre trying to get my foot in the door.  I'm also studying to be a counsellor and super excited about where that's going to take me.

    Looking forward to getting to know all of you - you all sound like incredible people with incredible stories.

    Cheers =) 

     

     

    10 people found this helpful
  6. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    1388 posts
    12 January 2017

    Dear All~
    I stumbled across this place a couple of years ago, not knowing what to expect, and never left. I found it to be a deep well of kindness and experience. Now I’m here to try to give back in addition to continuing to receive.

    About myself: I’m male, born in the late 40’s in the UK, to a clergyman and a nurse, with whom I had extremely strained relations. I was educated in England, France for a short while, and then Australia, going to a total of 8 different schools, a journey that tended to teach me a little about independence.

    I’ve been married twice, the first time to a marvelous lady for 25 years, and then when she passed away I remarried another equally lovely person. We are still in love after 20+ years. I have one grown-up son and a grandson too.

    I am an ex-policeman. Over 30 years ago, after being subject to an increasing number of physical and mental symptoms I was invalided out of the force with what was called at the time stress-related disorders (now known as PTSD, Chronic Anxiety and Depression).

    While not completely cured, subject to ongoing symptoms and occasional setbacks, I cope and am able to lead a pretty good useful and enjoyable life.

    When I was retired I was in a bad way and my wife had to shoulder the burdens of family, child, work and myself. It is in no small part due to her love and support that I am here today.

    Thanks to her suggestion I eventually undertook a course of study and ended up in an honorary teaching position at a university, specializing in IT. Around 15 years later I switched to another honorary position where I use IT, practicing what I previously taught. I also use my skills to assist the physically disabled.

    My interests are reading – which I’ve done avidly all my life - old TV shows & movies. (Nowadays I insist on a happy ending). My family life is a blessing.

    If anyone sees anything in my history that might ease their path I’d be privileged to try to assist.

    Thank you,

    Croix

    26 people found this helpful
  7. Quercus
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Quercus avatar
    311 posts
    22 September 2017

    Hello everyone,

    I didn't think this would be as hard as my very first post online but somehow it is...

    I'm Nat, 32 year old Mum of two, manager of depression and suicidal thoughts that seem to reoccur when I think I've got them under control... and freshly minted Community Champ.

    When I was asked if I would like to volunteer, part of me (my black dog) told me to politely decline...

    What do you know about helping anyone?

    I was about to send the reply and then I thought I may not have answers or knowledge... but I really do care about people.

    And I remembered when I first posted all I wanted was to know that someone cared enough to read what I wrote and acknowledge me as worthwhile. I can do that for others. So here I am.

    There are so many wonderful people here on the forums. If I can encourage even one new member to stick around, learn how to help themselves or share their knowledge with someone else, then that is success in my view 😊.

    Nat

    17 people found this helpful
  8. Doolhof
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Doolhof avatar
    914 posts
    14 October 2017 in reply to Just Sara

    Hi All,

    Recently I have re-joined the CC team. The earlier part of this year has been a time of emotional struggle with my depression, stress and BDP.

    Thanks to my Dr. a new Psychologist, personal research into my diagnosed conditions, hard work and perseverance, I feel I am learning more about myself and how to achieve a greater sense of stability in my life.

    I know there are going to be days when I struggle to make sense of things. By learning different techniques, or practising old ones, I hope those days are not so debilitating.

    Returning to this role of CC has also helped my sense of self.

    The BB Forum is still very much a place where I like to spend time, to try to help and support others and gain support myself during the though days.

    May the community here continue to be a healing place for all. Every person connected to this forum in some way is a person of value and worth.

    Cheers all from Dools

    13 people found this helpful
  9. quirkywords
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    560 posts
    14 November 2017 in reply to Doolhof

    I will introduce myself in twenty nouns.

    I have been or still am a daughter, mother, sister, niece, aunt, student,teacher, opera extra, health educator, speaker, babysitter, teacher's aide, retailer, motelier, blogger, waitress, tutor.

    I am so honoured to be a community champion and humble.

    As I usually ask questions feel free to ask me any questions.

    I have spent over 40 years living with a diagnosis so now I am pleased to be able share my experience and keep on learning.

    Thanks to everyone who has been so kind and patient with me.

    Quirky

    13 people found this helpful
  10. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    smallwolf avatar
    290 posts
    5 April 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Ahoy there. Well, I appear to have made it into a trusted community. I had to read through the previous posts to get some ideas what to write. So who am I? (One of life's eternal questions!)

    Father of 2 teens (son and daughter), brother, uncle, son, married, have a pet cat.

    I work as a software developer. Late last year, things at work got the better of me, and I turned into the mental mess. The funny thing (not in a haha way) was that it started on the day my kids were getting awards at highschool. I did not realise how bad I was until I was referred to a psych. I would eventually find out I had sever depression and anxiety. So now I am in this recovery phase.... however long that takes.

    I area(s) that I think I might be able to help others with is my own experience. That others might see part of themselves in my story. And to know they are not alone in this crazy journey called life. And most importantly, I really do not want others to have to get to the depth that I went before seeking help. We (or I) have one mind, one life, one body, and need to be able to attempt to make the most of it, as best we can.

    And as Quirky said... "I am so honoured to be a community champion and humble." If you have questions feel free to ask me (hint: if not posted in my thread, just give me a gentle nudge) and thanks to everyone who has been kind and offering or providing support to me.

    14 people found this helpful
  11. baet123
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    baet123 avatar
    34 posts
    20 September 2018

    Hey Everybody! Hope your all having a great week and not long until the weekend guys!

    So I will tell you all a bit about me. I am 25, from Sydney and am a full-time fourth year university Student studying a Bachelor of Social Work.My favourite hobbies include aviation (huge aeroplane tragic) golf, basketball, heavy metal, socialising and going out and most importantly helping and assist vulnerable members of our society. I have two cats also. I hope to assist as many people as possible and use my past experiences with mental health issues and my experience working with people with mental health conditions.

    I wish to be a social worker either for FACS NSW as a child protection case worker, work in a hospital as a social worker or work as a social worker in mental health/drug and alcohol treatment.

    Have a great day guys and enjoy your weekends (after Friday) of course!

    Nick

    12 people found this helpful
  12. Soberlicious96
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Soberlicious96 avatar
    100 posts
    10 April 2019
    Hi everyone,
    I go by Soberlicious on these forums because, you guessed it, I am proud to be sober! A little bit about me now: I am in my very late 40's, no kids, divorced for 2 and half years now, but have a wonderful new man in my life, and a very gorgeous cat I enjoy online networking, riding my bicycle, walking, word search puzzles, working part time and helping others where and when I can.

    My story/childhood though is littered with trauma and tragedy in the form of sexual abuse, being caught in the 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires and suffering both brain and spinal injuries in separate incidents. I am not a stranger to suicidal ideation and have attempted to end my life on six occasions, beginning at a very young age. I thank God that I am still here today to tell my story.

    At the age of 26 I got into recovery from drugs, alcohol, and my early life in general. And I gotta say, although it is the hardest thing I have ever done, it is also the best decision by far. I LOVE being sober and being who I am today. I have never felt or been better than I have in the last few years.

    I fair dinkum, seriously love my life today. I feel like I can be useful and helpful and reliable ..... not useless and hopeless and unreliable like I used to be. When I was asked to become a BB Champion, I felt so honored. It is so nice to be trusted in that way, and to be thought of in that way as well. Thankyou so much for allowing me to be a part of something like this. And to have such a safe, supportive space to share what's on my mind, without the 'confrontation' of having to be face to face.

    Anyway, that's all I can think of to say for now. Thanks again for including me. Such an honor. xo
     
    9 people found this helpful
  13. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    Aaronsis avatar
    135 posts
    10 December 2019

    Hello BB family

    My name is Aaronsis, which is a merge of Aaron and sister...I am pretty new to both the forum and the Community Champion role, which by the way is an outstanding privileged for me. I credit my mental health healing to the Beyond Blue forum and am not quite sure what I would have done without the support from the community at my time of grief.

    What brought me to the forum was my desperate search for the answer on why people die by suicide and how they come to a point in which this is the only choice. I wanted answers and I wanted to know why...I lost my brother (Aaron) who was 19 years old only 4 months ago to suicide and it tore me apart. With the amazing people here I am put back together....not the same as before..a new me...but I am loving who I am now. I learnt here that suicide is no one's fault, there is no one to blame, that suicide happens out of pain wanting to end not necessarily life, I have learnt that people can move past the stage of wanting to die by suicide and go on to live happy lives, I have learnt that people can heal from being effected by a death by suicide and that together if we can reach out to people who are thinking about suicide we can make a difference in their life, and hopefully help them choose life, that they do matter and that they are worth it..suicide is never the answer.

    I am a 44 yo mother of two teen children and have three cats, I work full time as a Facilities Coordinator and Reception Administrator and love my AFL. I adore camping and am currently studying Psychology and Mental Health part time at Uni.....the rest of my time I am on the BB Forums...it is my happy place, my second family.

    Great to meet you and welcome to the most amazing place of peace, support, love and compassion I have known.

    Huge Hugs

    AS

    9 people found this helpful
  14. uncut_gems
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    uncut_gems avatar
    12 posts
    25 February 2020

    Hi All!

    My name is Aaron (also happy to go by gems). I am a 25 year-old male PhD student from the United States living in Australia for a year doing some research for my dissertation. I've been here in Sydney for about five months now.

    My dissertation is on the rise of e-mental health around the world and in Australia in particular. I have always been interested in mental health, informed by my own lifelong struggles with depression, OCD and anxiety. I experienced a real low point in middle/high school, and again at uni, and have tried a variety of different treatments over the years with varying levels of success. While it remains a struggle, I have been well in the past few years and am feeling better than I have in a long time.

    While I enjoy learning and thinking about mental health in an academic way, I find it so gratifying to be able to actually engage with people who need help and to share just a little bit of my experience or thoughts that can help alleviate someone's pain, even for a little while. I've not been on the forums here for very long, and it's not always easy, but it is always rewarding. I'm amazed by how generous people on here with their time and knowledge, and how deftly they handle really sensitive topics.

    A bit more about me: I absolutely love movies, music, geography, travel, trivia, and cats; and just started trying to learn a bit of music production on the computer. I have a partner of 4 years that I met at uni, who lives back in the States with the rest of my family and friends. I'm from the east coast (think New York/Boston), and only moved to California a few years ago for graduate school. Doing field research abroad can be a bit lonely so I try to keep busy. I haven't had a chance to do much travel around Australia so far, but I can't wait to see more of this beautiful country.

    I'm deeply honored to be part of this group and excited to get to know all of you. I find that I'm much more comfortable expressing myself in written form, and to have a forum where I can comfortably engage with people in a meaningful way that lets me choose my words a bit more carefully is so exciting.

    It will never cease to amaze me that a group of volunteers, most with lived experience of their own, work to create this tremendous public resource that people turn to in droves every single day for comfort, acknowledgment, and information. Can't wait to get started!

    Aaron

    7 people found this helpful
  15. jess334
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    jess334 avatar
    71 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for welcoming me back to the Community Champions.

    I am a mum to a 2yo, a committed crafter (knitting& crochet), and part time worker.

    I also have a long history of Anxiety and Depression, with periods on and off medication. My anxiety started in high school after a significant period of bullying. I also had a fairly prolonged period of post-natal depression and heightened anxiety after my son was born.

    Beyond Blue has always been there for me, as a life line and supporter, and I am honored to be able to give back to this community.

    The beyond blue forums have helped me understand that there are so many people out there feeling the same way I do. I enjoy welcoming people into our Beyond Blue community and helping them feel understood and cared about.

    I hope you all enjoy your experiences here and are kind to one another.

    5 people found this helpful

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