Melanie is a nursing student who attended Recovery Camp at Yarramundi in NSW as her mental health placement in January 2020.
“Before attending Recovery Camp at Yarramundi, I was nervous to spend a week away in an unfamiliar environment with people I didn’t know. From the moment I arrived at the pick-up destination to head to the camp, I began forming new friendships with fellow nursing students and people with lived experience of mental illness (consumers).
During Recovery Camp, I initially found it difficult to engage with consumers due to my preconceived notions about mental health and those that suffer from it. We were lucky enough to be surrounded by highly educated mental health nurses that guided and supported us throughout the entire camp. After spending quality time with consumers during each meal of the day and stepping out of our comfort zones in challenging activities like the giant swing, rock climbing, and kayaking, I was able to create therapeutic and trusting relationships.
I discovered that my encouraging and empowering attitude towards consumers provided comfort, allowing me to gain a deeper insight into their confronting life challenges. I remember feeling sad and disappointed in their experiences and interactions with nurses and my view on mental health being challenged and completely transformed. Their stories have inspired me to be a better nurse and person by listening, displaying empathy, and demonstrating compassion towards everyone. Recovery camp was an educational and valuable experience that I would encourage others to participate in as it allowed me to meet new people, step out of my comfort zone and gain confidence while also expand my knowledge and skills around mental health.”