Rhonda’s story

Queensland Mental Health Week Supporter

In 2022, we have had some amazing individuals step up to talk about their experiences for Queensland Mental Health Week to confront stigma and support other people’s mental health journeys.

Among these supporters is Rhonda Whiteley, who is the owner and founder of Inner Pathways Education. Rhonda has an Advanced Diploma in Meditation Teaching & Holistic Human Development, HICAT Diploma (Holistic Integrated Creative Arts Therapist) and is a Chakradance Facilitator. She is passionate about mental wellness after applying meditation and holistic therapies during her recovery from past abuse and mental health concerns.

You can read about Rhonda’s journey below. She will also be speaking at the Wellness at the Coast event hosted by Livingstone Shire Council, which will be held on Friday 14 October as part of Queensland Mental Health Week.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Why is mental health so important to you?

After a past of childhood sexual abuse and marital abuse, I lost my way and attempted suicide at the end of 2007. I needed to grow and discover myself to create the life of my dreams and not just exist. After that growth and self-discovery, my mental health journey began. To maintain that focus I wrote the following poem.

In the fight that I will win, to see the joys life will bring. There is one goal I have set, on this journey, I will get. It is simple that I know, from deep within where energies flow. Four little words say it all, release the fear and hear me call. Be free be me.

Today I’m a holistic well-being therapy business owner, maintain a personal daily mental health practice, enjoy creativity, and am passionate about helping others overcome past traumas to improve their lives and mental health. Writing an ebook, Breaking the Chains helped to put my past into words and understand how I can use those experiences to create a business helping women.

Without looking after my mental health I would not be the person I am today. Walking into a supermarket was near impossible in 2007 and now I can stand on stage and share my story with confidence and know that I am authentically me. There are still challenging days, but now I have the tools to help me through those times.

What does this year’s Queensland Mental Health Week theme ‘Awareness, Belonging, Connection’ mean to you?

Bring mental health out from in the cupboard to being part of the community and inviting everyone to share, learn and feel supported.

Why would you encourage people to get involved in Queensland Mental Health Week?

To show that there is support in the community and they don’t need to be alone or that they can support others in many ways – sometimes just being there to listen or hold a hand is comforting.

Have you seen any new mental health initiatives that you’ve been impressed by?

Collaborative artworks – art is therapeutic and then sharing that with others can enhance the feelings.

Community support session – learning and sharing skills. Boosts self-confidence when someone can teach others.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Improving a person’s mental health gives them the strength and confidence to make other changes in their lives and those of their children.

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