Last night on Q&A‘s special Mental As program, Fay Jackson – the deputy commissioner at the NSW Mental Health Commission, who was diagnosed with bipolar at the age of 15 – practically stole the show with a story about that time she went to Hay to speak about mental health, and her taxi driver Keith freaked the fuck out.
“What are you here to speak about?” Keith asked.
“Oh, mental health,” Fay said.
“Jeez,” he said, “do we need you out here! I tell ya, great load of freaks and lunatics running around out here. Complete spazoids and schizos. Stab you in the back as soon as they look at you. We ought to round them all up and stick them on an island and let them kill each other off like we used to with the lepers.”
He then asked her what she did, whether she was an expert on mental health or a doctor, to which she replied: “Keith, I’m the nutter.”
The audience lapped up the story, and Fay said: “I’ve heard a lot of crap out of people’s mouths, but not so much usually from one guy alone with me in the cab of his car on the way out through Hay Plains in the dark.”
Unfortunately, Q&A had a ton of mental health discussion points to get through, so Tony Jones cut in just as Fay was finishing up.
Given that Fay’s storytelling game is absolutely on point, we wanted to hear the thing properly – so we went hunting and found the unabridged version, when she spoke at the Mind & Its Potential conference back in 2013.
Skip to about two minutes in if you want to get straight to the story, but TBH you’d be skipping out on her A++ inspiring talk.
All this week is Mental Health Week, so remember: R U OK Day doesn’t have to be the only time a year to reach out your mates, and it’s absolutely okay if you’re not.
If you are experiencing mental health issues, get in contact with BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. If it’s an emergency, call 000.