On the eve of Mental Health Week, award-winning singer/songwriter, Melinda Schneider is embarking upon the courageous move of sharing her own story of depression in a bid to help others.
Melinda made her recording debut at the age of eight years old and this year celebrates her achieving the milestone of 40 years in the entertainment industry.
However, a lifetime in the spotlight can take its toll, with constant pressures to put on a happy face and project a public image of success and perfection at all times – “I was raised to be a ‘nice girl’, a happy little pretty thing and to always tell a positive story. It’s taken a lot of inner strength for me to get to this point of telling my story of struggle, publicly.”
On Mother’s Day 2018, Melinda experienced her first bout of depression. “That Sunday, I came home after performing a show and told my partner Mark, ‘something doesn’t feel right’ but I couldn’t describe what it was. He sent me to bed and told me to stay there. He said ‘You’re a workaholic, you never have any time off. Go to bed and watch Netflix, but do not work.’ I took his advice and ended up in bed for six weeks”, she said.
Melinda battled feelings of sadness, shame and hopelessness, but taking that time out to reconcile her thoughts and feelings made all the difference and she started to slowly feel better.
She returned to work, again pushing herself too hard, and by the following April her depression had returned. A few weeks later she lost a dear friend who took his own life. The combination of grief and depression were too much and Melinda gradually realised she needed real help. Professional consultation subsequently resulted in a diagnosis of major depression and generalised anxiety.
“That difficult two year experience has helped me shift focus and taught me how important it is to be gentle on yourself “– a message that Melinda plans to share with others through a new single release, EP compilation and website.
Partnering with New South Wales Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) as their new Ambassador, Melinda hopes to reduce stigma around mental ill-health and encourage help-seeking in rural communities. Melinda’s brave story also features in RAMHP’s new magazine Take Time.“I want to help reduce the stigma around mental health issues and I want people to know that asking for help when you need it is actually the strong thing to do, not weak. It’s ok to not be ok.”
Melinda’s new single Be Gentle on Yourself, released on her 49th birthday – October 7, 2020, emphasises the importance of self-love and self-care.
“I wrote this song with Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus) twenty years ago. I was going through a pretty hard time personally back then and I obviously needed some self-care. The irony is I’m only just learning now how to be gentle on myself as a daily practice.”
The single features on a 6-track eponymous EP on which Melinda has included her most healing songs of self-love. Profits from the EP will assist in raising much needed funds for resources for RAMHP.
“For me, to Be Gentle on Yourself means learning to stop self-judgement and treating myself with the same unconditional love I offer my child. This doesn’t come easily, it takes practice, I’m a work in progress,” Melinda said.
Melinda’s raised awareness around her mental health journey is also documented via her new self-care website www.
To find out more about Melinda’s experience with depression and to purchase her new single, go to www.begentleonyourself.com.
For guidelines on safe media reporting about COVID -19, suicide and mental ill-health, head to Mindframe on https://mindframe.org.au/
If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, please contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 (free call for landlines) for advice or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.