Emily anxious to speak against mental illness stigma

KEEP CALM: Emily Skinner wants everyone with anxiety to know they are not alone.
KEEP CALM: Emily Skinner wants everyone with anxiety to know they are not alone. Trinette Stevens Roktanxiety

FOR Rockhampton's Emily Skinner, anxiety is a reality of life.

The 21-year-old has struggled with anxiety since she was 14, and describes the time since as a struggle.

"I withdrew from everything, I was crying all the time, I had nausea, and a lot of social anxiety," she said.

"It got to the point where I had to pull out of high school because the symptoms were just too severe."

After seeking professional help from various psychologists, Emily found her solace in therapy and medication.

"Mum did a lot of research before I went on any medications, but it really had the biggest positive effect on my illness," she said.

On the back of the controversial blog on anxiety released by ex-opposition leader Mark Latham yesterday, Emily has concerns that it will increase the stigma around mental illness.

The blog, featured on the Financial Review website, received massive online backlash for comments made about anxiety disorders.

In it, Mr Latham referred to mental illness as an "in-vogue' subject" and the "medicalisation of normality".

Emily dismissed Mr Latham's ability to make a professional comment on the subject but reassured sufferers that they were not alone.

"When I first got diagnosed, I was very open about it because no one really knew anything about it. I think the more people know, the more they can understand," she said.

"I've had people message me on Facebook asking for help and advice just because I've talked about it openly... ignorant comments like his (Mark Latham) can do a lot of harm to people suffering. It's just irresponsible."

Topics:  anxiety mark latham

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