A brave spirit rewarded

Barbara Swain was presented with her Mental Health Matters Award on Tuesday in Sydney by NSW Governor, Professor Marie Bashir (right), and NSW Minister for Health, John Hazistergos.

When Barbara Swains mentally ill son Barry committed suicide 11 years ago, she spent many years struggling to come to terms with his death.

Around four years later Barbara hand stitched a Quilt of Love to raise money for a local self-help support group, and found channelling her grief into something positive was the best way to move forward with her life.

Almost two years ago Barbara founded the Mental Health Support Group, which provides practical help and support to sufferers as well as advice and a friendly ear for family and carers. In recognition of her valuable work, Barbara was presented with a Mental Health Matters Award on Tuesday in Sydney during Mental Health Week.

I feel Barrys life was not wasted his legacy lives on and he has helped to create something positive and good, said Barbara. Our aim is to help other people in the community suffering through the same hell and assist them on the road to recovery, which in itself is great therapy.

The Mental Health Support Group started out providing toiletry packs and clothing to mental health patients who didnt have families to care for them, but soon branched out into providing support for family members, furniture for people living independently, and help for those struggling financially around Christmas time.

I feel a bit embarrassed to get the award because theres so many other hard working and committed people in the group were all just a channel for so many other peoples generosity, said Barbara. We are fortunate to live in a community that is so caring and loving and sharing.

Anyone interested in joining the support group can phone Barbara on 6628 7936.

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