Hello, hey there! How is everyone going? It’s a pleasure and an honour to join the team at Barty, Australia.
My mission at Barty is to own, write and manage the ‘Support Forums’ including live-chat across Australia. We're going to start small with a view to growing the service for all ages, backgrounds, shapes and sizes.
I’m truly excited, keen to share, and focused on everything mental health and mental illness related. My aim and purpose, if you’ll allow me, is to dedicate myself 24/7 to supporting the Barty community in real-time, raising awareness, and tackling stigma surrounding mental illness.
It’s OK to be not OK, we've got you covered.
Funk comes in waves, it comes and goes. It’s like Yoga, you’ll never become strong if you don't practice often. Same goes for mental health, there’s tools out there, all you need is a little courage and be willing to ask for help?
Feel free to reach out anytime, say ‘Hey Erin’, use the chat button. Some good starter questions are: Why do I feel this way? What should I do? Who do I speak to? Where do I go?
Feel free to reach out anytime; no matter what you're going through or facing. Know Erin will be able to point you in the right direction.
How does the Barty Live Chat, managed by Erin work?
Bart and Erin share a common vision. It was instantly agreed that a ‘Support’ chat-hot-line would round out the Barty offering. Helping visitors with questions they might have top of mind about anything and everything when it comes to Funk.
If you’re looking for advice, or just need someone to listen, you can be assured Erin is on the other end listening and keen to help. If for whatever reason Erin, can’t help, she’ll refer you onto a service that can … it’s easy, tap the chat icon say, ‘Hey Erin’ or ‘Ask Erin’ and you’ll be connected to the real Erin. Your conversations are private and in strict confidence 😃
Background, here's how all this started for Erin
Erin met Bart through her work as a youth ambassador at ReachOut.com Australia last year and she was impressed by Bart’s unconditional drive to pay it forward.
For Erin, this is an opportunity of a life-time. She’s super excited and thankful to be given a platform where her passion for advocating for mental health, whilst supporting people with Funk coverage, honestly and unconditionally.
What is Erin responsible for at Barty?
At Barty, Erin’s role is to keep true to our beliefs, making sure mental health is A-OK. Erin will continue to share timely information on topics like health care as well as being available on chat to support the community day to day.
Erin’s Qualifications are...
Erin has a Certificate 4 and Diploma in Community Services which qualifies her to work as an Advocate, Case Worker, Youth Worker and in Community Development.
Want to know more about Erin, did you know when she's not in front of a computer ...
When Erin isn’t in front of her computer supporting the Barty community, she’s researching, writing blogs, and baking (her brownies are divine!), watching medical dramas and comedy shows, crafting, shopping, hugging her cat or catching up with friends.
Erin's journey with mental illness is what brought her to Barty. Irrespective of knowing Bart, her passion for reducing the stigma of mental illness and mental health is always front and centre.
What do you picture when you think of someone with a mental illness?
Someone visibly crazy and not making sense? Someone with scars up and down their arms? Is someone obsessively lining up pencils? Someone in bed all day? Someone with tears streaming down their face consistently?
Erin doesn't look like someone who has mental illness. But if you dig below the surface you will see someone who is their own worst enemy, who needs to take medication to function as their body doesn’t make enough serotonin, someone who has obsessive behaviours, someone who feels broken and worthless. Erin's main diagnosis is anxiety but over the years she's also been diagnosed with anxiety attacks and depressive episodes. Erin is thankful to have had a great support system including an amazing doctor, fantastic psychologist and loving friends and family.
Erin has always suffered from anxiety to some degree, in the beginning, Erin’s parents wrote Erin’s anxiety off as something to do with my dyspraxia (this is a condition where the signals in your brain are faulty which affects my speech, hand-eye coordination and a few other areas.
Long story short, she has an excuse for being clumsy. Her family hoped she would grow out of it. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and instead, it got worse. Perth did not have a huge range of treatments available so her parents did what they could when it came to getting her help.
They officially diagnosed Erin with anxiety when she was 12. She was diagnosed by a child psychologist whom her parents dragged her to see. Life felt like it was spiralling out of control and Erin just wanted to cry all the time. She remembers looking in the mirror and not recognising who was staring back at her. Erin was told that she likes being in control, so anything out of routine would set anxieties off.
Erin hated going to see her psych. There was nothing like sitting in a room with a strange man for an hour whilst being asked questions about your life, or tries to decipher your drawings. Erin wasn’t a fan of psychologists after taking those sessions.
When Erin started high school her anxiety reached a whole new level and was put on medication subscribed by the local practitioner.
Erin remembered taking half the tablet not knowing how it would affect her, being worried about side effects, having no idea what they were. Erin’s parents could see the changes almost immediately.
Fast forward to when Erin turned 18, Erin has been on medication for 5 years, graduated high school, completed a Cert 3 in Business and started a new job in business administration.
Life seemed steady. Erin lasted 2 days on the job before Erin’s anxiety decided to show itself in the form of a major anxiety attack. Erin had experienced these throughout high school due to being on medication.
Erin’s doctor had over the years prescribed Erin various medications to try and stop the anxiety from happening which worked by knocking her out for hours on one tablet, or left Erin feeling spaced out which was not ideal.
Erin was forced to leave her job after only a few days due to her anxiety and feeling like a failure. Erin’s doctor suggested she see a psychologist.
14 years have gone by. Erin has been on medication for 9 of those years and has been working with a psychologist. She is still learning how to manage and live with her anxiety. Erin has accepted that she will always need to take medication.
Being aware is key.
When you get to know Erin you will find that living with anxiety or any type of mental illness is all about learning and being aware -- when you're aware, how to manage your Funk is a good thing, it means you don't have to struggle with it or people you meet every day.
Just say, 'Hey Erin' can I ask you a question?
From today onward, it’s our promise at Barty, my duty, Erin's sole responsibility is to keep you guys feeling safe, inspired to openly discuss what’s going on for you in strict confidence because you’re not alone.
Let's grow together and responsibly. Feel free to drop by, just say, ‘Hey Erin’ or do not hesitate to leave a question below any time.