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Inspiration Bomb – Prof. Patrick McGorry

I’ve got two excellent videos to share with you today. One is a brand new Inspiration Bomb, and the other is a short-film about cowboys. I’ll explain the link in just a moment.

Today’s  “Special Inspiration Bomb” stars Professor Patrick McGorry;  psychiatrist, surfer, father-of-two-musicians, and former Australian of the Year for his exceptional work in the field of “Mental Health”. But hang on… what’s “mental health” got to do with creativity and business (you ask)?

First up, I figure Pat’s a good person for BHB to ask about the supposed relationship between “creativity” and what he terms “mental ill-health”. Does it exist? Is that just an old wives tale? I’ve always been curious to know. I’d like his opinion.

Secondly, true fact: 50% of Australians will, at some point in their lives, experience “mental ill-health”. As Pat explains,  “It doesn’t have to define you as a person: it’s not the only thing you are” , and yet, when you ARE your business, when you ARE the walking Intellectual Property of your business, it’s especially important to ensure your ship is in “tip-top shape”.

That’s one of the reasons we like to talk about it, and that’s why I invited Pat over for a cuppa and a chat.

It’s a chat that’s began in 2010 when, three days before the election when I was invited to interview then PM Julia Gillard (at 48 hours notice). Time being of a premium, I figured Pat was the man to help me get my facts straight when it came to the mental-ill-health of Australians, and where we could improve things. He impressed me no end.

In this ten minute IB (also starring “flower artist” Mel, founder of “Cecila Fox”), you’ll get to hear Pat’s take on the potentially therapeutic role of creativity.

On a personal note, I ask Pat to tell me how he deals with criticism, which (I have found) is actually just an expected part of “being a person who has an opinion”. He answers very honestly.

He also names a couple of places where young people can access stigma-free support for any “mental-health” challenges they’re experiencing (and I’ll mention them here again, in case they come in handy Orygen Youth Health and Headspace).

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  • Jacqui Sterling

    I loved this short film…. His sweetness and innocence amidst such obvious pain and lonliness was so beautiful… I could really identify with a lot of what he spoke about and the beauty of the open spaces and scenery was spectacular.. Made me realise how long it has been since I truly ‘escaped’ society and just breathed in the beauty of nature.. How i’d love to switch off from the world and take off to the wilderness for a time… Even just to escape my phone and facebook would probably be enough… Lol!! Awwwe I want him to go on farmer wants a wife or somehow find a life partner …. Thankyou for this lovely film xxx

  • disqus_WmGlX3nqYd

    Thank you for sharing, Michael Martin. Go well.

  • Kate Meadley

    An issue that is tremendously important to me. Creative arts have been crucial in my recovery from mental ill health in so many ways.

    Emerging from relapses is terrifying. There is a huge, empty space where life used to be. My identity has become the ‘disorders’ and it’s so easy to want to retreat to the safety of being ill. Music has provided me with a foundation on which to build/rediscover my identity which helps keep me on track with my recovery. Eg overcoming my fear of eating is made easier by reminding myself that I value being strong enough to play guitar, sing, and perform over the safety and numbness of an eating disorder.

    Writing songs is so cathartic. I’m not sure why it is, but it is so much easier for me to open up in lyrics than in conversation. The words flow so much easier, and I can practice the ‘conversation’ in song over and over, get used to the tricky emotions and experiences. I can alter how I feel about things by writing about them in a certain way too. I wrote a song about powerlessness and later added an extra verse in which I overcome my fear and am empowered. When I play that verse I feel a fire in my belly and a determination to keep fighting those demons so they don’t have power anymore. And it’s not just the misery and sadness I express through music; I sing songs about the things which fill my heart with happiness and gratitude too!

    Music gives me a reason to stay sober, a reason to quit smoking, a reason to eat, a reason to take my meds, a reason to try meditation, a reason to talk to people, a reason to exercise, and rest, and explore life. Being a musician has connected me with so many beautiful, creative, wild, hilarious, caring, mind expanding people. That connection with people has been vital.

    I’m sure creativity/music/art isn’t something that everyone can connect with. Cling onto the thing that makes your insides burn with passion, whatever it is. And connect with people. Don’t isolate from people. They can be pretty amazing.

    Thank you for your wonderful work Pat McGorry!!

  • Cheree Taylor

    Beyond Blue also have some great mental health initiatives, and some schools are working on supporting student’s mental health and wellbeing through KidsMatter and MindMatters. Great frameworks that look at how to support not just the individual, but the school and greater community. It is so great to see mental health being approached in different and creative ways, breaking down the stigma and silence that surrounds it. Thank you for these clips, they’re really important.

  • Tanya Cole

    With all due respect, I have to disagree with Pat in his generalization that a lot of artists suffer from mental ill-health. I think sometimes in the process of analysis and academia, perspective can become lost. There are many an artist out there who are perhaps ”over-sensitive’ (both a virtue but also considered a failing by some) and perhaps more reactionary and expressive. These qualities of the artist must not be confused with the ‘symptoms’ of mental ill-health diagnosis and parceled up in the same box. On the spectrum of emotions and emotional expression, it is a very fine line as to what determines the end ranges of normal. A judgement (medical) that determines this. I think that the only reason why researchers have latched onto artists as being a sub group prone to mental ill-health is a false positive. It is merely because most artists that possess these depths of emotions are courageous enough to bare their souls, their truth and expression. Other careers are perhaps caught up in the withhold and care about what society may think of me realm and will not express such vulnerabilities. I believe this is why they are not captured in the research net. Lets not patholagize a ‘career’ which is based on in most cases deep inner reflection and connection with oneself blended with a willingness to share it for the better and learning for others. Tanya Cole (proudly an artist and occupational therapist who struggles with the blurred edges of normal mood swings created by the stresses of ordinary life)

    • Terra Sheridan

      Wow. This sounds all very gloomy. I am very creative….but also a positive person. I use art to express myself. It makes me happier than usual. It’s terrible to generalize artists in this way. Are psychologists hurting for money? Most artists I’ve meet are pretty balanced people. Not the tragic sort…

  • Tanya Cole

    Thank you for sharing this short film. I too appreciate Mick sharing his vulnerability and openness. Wishing him well also.

  • Oh My Musical Goodness

    As a Registered Music therapist specialising in the field of mental health I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Prof Patrick McGorry and discussing mental health with him, and he is an absolute treasure to the field! There actually IS much research, statistical information and quantitative studies in the diverse areas of music therapy and mental health and if anyone is interested in finding out more about it you can contact me at Oh My Musical Goodness. Music Therapy in my opinion is the COOLEST TOOL!!! As Pat says it allows a non-verbal outlet for those who sometimes struggle to use words which is important for us all 🙂 Thanks! Alli Davies (RMT)

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