Managing depression

Susan Frankel
Depression can feel strange and confusing for young people. Bronwyn Collins was in high school when she started to feel unhappy. In 2005, a doctor diagnosed her with depression and prescribed medication to help her. After being diagnosed Bronwyn got involved with the youth program at Beyond Blue. Beyond Blue is an organisation that aims to raise awareness and to improve the treatment of mental illnesses. Bronwyn gives talks to people about depression. Over time, Bronwyn has learned to feel good again. She is studying at university and looks forward to her future.
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Susan Frankel on 15/05/2012
A dark image with young man looking out with a troubled expression.

Depression can alienate young people.

Now 23, Bronwyn Collins has her goals in sight after her battle. She has turned her life around.


Bronwyn did not know what was happening to her when she was in year eight and nine at school. The clever student was very unhappy, lost interest in everything and had no energy. She was also self-harming.

In 2005 she was diagnosed with depression by her rural doctor. He prescribed medication to help her.

Medication helps me with my life. I know what it is like on the downside, Bronwyn says.

The year she was diagnosed with depression, she also researched the internet to find out more about depression. That was how she found the Beyond Blue website.

Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue is an Australian non-profit organisation. It aims to increase awareness and improve the treatment of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and related mental disorders. Beyond Blue began in October 2000 as a five-year initiative of Australian federal, state and territory governments. It was the result of public debate on the treatment for people with depression.

The Beyond Blue site helped identify what was going on. I was from a small country town and depression was pretty much taboo. So, I found a lot of stuff about depression to get a really good understanding, says Bronwyn.

She discovered their youth program, got involved and became an ambassador.

I have had training to do talks, stalls, and answer lots of questions. I want to de-stigmatise depression. I don't want people to feel lost like I did. I want young people to know that there are people they can turn to.

De-stigmatising all that goes with depression and mental illness is so important for me. For teenagers, it's a huge thing because they are vulnerable. Teenagers are very judgemental to each other and they need to understand what depression is and the symptoms, says Bronwyn.

Taking care of your friends and people around you is why I want to be a Beyond Blue ambassador. People in the city or country areas can get practical advice.

Look, one out of four people will experience depression. It's very daunting going to the doctor. Beyond Blue also has a more private way of helping people know where to go.

Learning strategies

For treatment I have had medication together with counselling for depression and anxiety. I have also tried breathing techniques for anxiety.

To stay well, Bronwyn uses her learned strategies. Eat well, stay active, do positive thinking. I know what overwhelms me and I know when I need private time. I use time management to stay organised. I have to pace myself now. I can't just wing it like I used to. I have to apply myself now and face challenges. I know the telltale signals and I know how to help myself.

Achieving goals

Bronwyn is in her final year at university and she wants to find a secure job. I am getting to the goals I set years ago. It's fantastic.

She takes one day at a time. It took me a couple of years and now it is fine. It's been a long journey for me to get where I am today.

Bronwyn has some useful advise for young people who are feeling bad.

If you are worried speak to your family, visit your doctor or get some information that you can trust.

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

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