• (The Gender Spectrum Collection, Zackary Drucker)
Two men share their experiences of mental health and their different visions for change.
By
Alexandra Fisher

24 May 2018 - 9:51 AM  UPDATED 24 May 2019 - 9:52 AM

If you have watched Osher Günsberg presiding over the rose ceremony on the Bachelor, you’d have seen an easy-going, confident and cheerful person. But behind the camera, the Australian radio and TV presenter battled mental illness for many years.

“I always had ruminating anxiety from when I was quite little,” Osher Günsberg tells The Few Who Do in episode seven. “It was always like images that would flash in my head and that would hit so hard I would flinch and I would feel actual physical pain,” he says.

The host of The Bachelor not only struggled with anxiety and depression, but the complex mental illness, psychosis. “I started experiencing episodes of psychosis, which manifested as paranoid delusions,” he reveals in episode seven.

 

The presenter, who is also board director for mental health charity SANE, was far from alone in his struggle. An estimated 45% of people between 16 and 85 will experience mental illness at some point in their life. And about 690,000 Australians live with a complex mental illness (which include psychosis, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). Less than half of those experiencing mental health conditions seek help.  For those suffering from anxiety –  the most common mental health condition –  37 per cent suffered for more than 12 months before getting support, according to Beyond Blue. And almost one in five waited longer than six years.

For Greg Kentish, the CEO and founder of Acacia Connection, intergenerational trauma has affected him and his family. During WWII, his grandfather was captured by the Japanese after they bombed the boat he was on off the Northern Territory coast. In episode seven, Greg shares details of the tragedy and how it’s never left his family. “The ripple effect is felt for many generations,” he says.

For both Greg Kentish and Osher Günsberg, their experience with mental health in their own lives has propelled them into making change in the lives of others.

In episode seven of The Few Who Do, they share with co-hosts Jan Fran and Marc Fennell about the different ways they’re tackling mental health in Australia: in the workforce and life in general. Osher Günsberg is challenging the personal and societal stigma around mental health, by sharing his own experience. While, Greg Kentish’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Acacia Connection provides therapy for small businesses and corporations.

The majority of people suffering from mental illness spend most of their lives working. Research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that three quarters of employees believe their workplace should provide support to someone who is experiencing depression or anxiety. But Greg says the push for more support in the workforce can be met with resistance. “Sometimes it's that stigma around… business owners saying ‘well why should I have to pay you money to help one of my people with an addiction issue or their depression? You know, that's their problem’,” says Greg.  “I think there's still that stigma in Australia unfortunately.”

In episode seven, hear more about how Greg’s trying to improve support for workers through Acacia Connection. Greg wants to make it as easy as possible for a person with mental illness to reach a psychologist. Sometimes even picking up the phone can be an obstacle. “They can do counseling over text, live chat, even email if they want to because there's still a professional on the end of the line,” he tells The Few Who Do. “So it's really about different methods and approaches to get to people to help them,” he says.

Osher Günsberg joined the board of SANE in part to help break the stigma around mental illness.  The mental health charity is focused on combating preconceptions about mental illness (among other things). It works in the online space, with a peer support system for carers and people living with a mental illness. “SANE does a great amount of work around stigma reduction and education and advocacy, particularly around advocacy for people, for example, accessing services and dealing with NDIS and things like that,” says Osher.

To hear more, listen to episode seven of The Few Who Do, hosted by Jan Fran and Marc Fennell.

If you want to talk to someone, Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 14 11. And Beyond Blue is available online, or on 1300 22 4636.

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Over 16 episodes, Marc and Jan will tackle the big questions in society and culture today, and hear personal stories from Australians with big ambitions, entrepreneurs and small business owners advocating for change.

Because there is often more than one approach to our biggest problems, each episode, Marc and Jan will delve into different possibilities and get to know the people behind the ideas.

LISTEN TO EPISODE 7

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Introducing 'The Few Who Do'

Two hosts, one problem, two possibilities...

Presented by Jan Fran and Marc Fennell 'The Few Who Do' tackles the big questions in society and culture today.

Whose responsibility is it to make our streets safe for women? How will we support a growing population with dwindling food resources?

We’ll hear personal stories from Australians with big ambitions, entrepreneurs and small business owners advocating for change.

The Few Who Do is an SBS podcast with CGU Insurance.

 

Upcoming episodes of The Few Who Do will examine

  • How do we secure our food future?

Global population is predicted to hit 10 billion by 2050. Coupled with extreme weather patterns caused by climate change, our daily meals will look a little different.

  • Why is the pay gap for women in sport still so big?

In the Forbes 100 top earners in sport, there are no women. Even the #100 on the 2018 list, Nicolas Buttam makes $22.9M. That's nearly $5 million more than Serena Williams; the top female earner in 2018.

Two Hosts, One Problem, Two Possibilities


 

This podcast is brought to you by CGU Insurance, who have been proudly backing the ambitions of  Aussie Small Businesses for over 165 years. Visit CGU.com.au to find out how CGU can back you.