Mental illness is a topic close to Bradon’s heart.
In 2017, he was diagnosed with a complex case of severe depression and anxiety. Bradon had initially avoided seeking help for around nine months as he tried to manage this challenge alone.
“My wife was remarkably patient and supportive throughout. The diagnosis was helpful in understanding how I felt, and the various therapies enabled me to reconstruct who I was.”
Bradon particularly struggled with the shame that he felt. He had always thought of himself as a laughable, fun guy, and wasn’t sure what his diagnosis meant in relation to who he was as a father, husband and pastor.
But the more Bradon spoke about his situation with medical professionals, family and friends, the more he realised that his conversations with those around him were a critical step to managing this challenge.
In 2019, Bradon took part in Colour Your Hair For Mental Health as it seemed like a simple and fun way to raise funds and awareness for an important cause that he cared about.
He went all out, dying his hair a myriad of colours.
“I really enjoyed it – obviously the peacock colours attracted significant attention, and people were able to give generously,” he said.
Bradon’s hair colour was also a catalyst to start conversations with friends, chats with curious cafe staff and with parents where his children go to school, which he found were also surprisingly worthwhile.
Bradon has worked in youth ministry settings for 16 years, and is well aware that adolescent mental health continues to be an issue we need to address.
“I hoped that by raising awareness, we could support young people, families and communities to have courageous conversations and provide care where it is needed.”
Colour Your Hair for Mental Health is raising funds for life-changing research into diseases like depression, anxiety, bi-polar and schizophrenia.
Help people like Bradon by signing up or donating now