How one woman used her struggles with mental health to support the wider community of women.
Courtney Elliott knows a bit about mental health. For years she has struggled with anxiety, depression and even battled suicide ideation. She suffered post-partum depression after the births of each of her two sons. The going was tough.
But there has always been a fierce strength inside this 32-year-old South Australian that has kept her moving forward. She found healing at home, in connecting with like-minded women, but most especially in the simple act of giving.
She raised an impressive $9,000 for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health because she had found the organisation’s resources helpful when she was looking for information on mental health.
“I wanted to do something I was passionate about,” she says. “And I wanted to finish my maternity leave by doing something meaningful for the wider community, to give women a space where they could tell their stories about mental health.”
She decided to host a charity dinner for 106 women in Adelaide. Six women, including Courtney, spoke about a range of health issues – mental health, IVF loss and surrogacy, chronic pain, as well as one woman’s struggle with type 1 diabetes that nearly cost her eyesight.
The event was originally to be held during Jean Hailes Women’s Health Week in the first week of September, but logistics delayed it until 23 September.
In addition to the $110 cover fee to attend the dinner, the event raised money through an online silent auction ($2,500) as well as through sponsors from local businesses.
“It was a huge shock to see how much the event raised,” says Courtney. “It was also very heartening.”
Opening her own heart has helped Courtney to cope with her bouts of poor mental health. It began with sharing tips from a teacher’s perspective about children’s feelings on an Instagram feed and evolved over time into sharing her own struggles with mental health.
“I think it gave me courage to be able to be open about it,” she says. “And a lot of women follow me because I am so open about it.”
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