Growing up in a small Sydney suburb of Oatley, Camille grew up with access to opportunities with the support of a loving family. From the outside, you would see a high achiever on course towards a bright future, yet under the surface there was a young woman plagued by anxiety, who was self-harming and contemplating suicide.
As a teenager, she felt completely isolated and that there was little point to life. For the most part, these dark thoughts and feelings were hidden from her family – until her first suicide attempt at 16. This led her to seek treatment – in a process she describes as ‘trial and error’ – with the effects of different anxiety medications ranging from mild nausea to violent, suicidal ideation.
Unfortunately for Camille, her symptoms worsened. By her mid-twenties she was overwhelmed by intrusive thoughts, regularly hospitalised with panic attacks and anxiety induced vertigo. It was at this point she knew she had hit rock bottom and had to get help. After stopping work and putting herself into the care of her parents, Camille started working with a psychologist and psychiatrist to understand her anxious thoughts – and find an effective combination of supportive therapies and treatments to help her manage her symptoms. Importantly, this also led to her talking more openly about her mental health diagnosis with friends, family and employers.
Today, Camille is a successful HR professional and mental health advocate, who is also studying for an MA in Brain Science. She is passionate about mental health research and feels the lack of varied treatments and limited community awareness delayed her seeking effective treatment when she was younger.
One of Camille’s great hopes is that more research into conditions like anxiety and depression will mean that a new generation of women will benefit from treatments that weren’t available to her 13 years ago. She is also hopeful that research will help break down the stigma that still surrounds issues of mental health.
“I’m getting behind Colour Your Hair for Mental Health because mental illness doesn’t discriminate. If there’s more research happening, there will be more treatment options for young people, who, like me, may have felt ashamed or didn’t know where to turn in their hardest moments.”
Colour Your Hair is raising funds for life changing mental health research into serious mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
Help young people like Camille by registering now.