Australian country music icon shares her story and her music to help others
To mark Mental Health Month (October) Australian country music singer and songwriter Melinda Schneider has released a new single ‘Be Gentle on Yourself’ and shares her own lived experience story of mental ill-health to help others.
After starting on stage at the age of three and doing her first recording at the age of eight, Melinda’s professional career continued to climb from strength to strength.
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, ‘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.
Melinda is now an advocate for speaking out and has recently taken on the role of Ambassador for RAMHP hoping to reduce stigma around mental ill-health and encourage help-seeking in rural communities.
Her message to herself is the same as her message to for rural communities is ‘sometimes you can be strong for too long’.
Melinda’s new song ‘Be Gentle on Yourself’ has just been released and focuses on the importance of self-love and self-care.
“For me, to Be Gentle on Yourself means learning to stop self-judgement and treating myself with the same unconditional love I give my child. This doesn’t come easily, it takes practice, daily. I’m a work in progress,” Melinda said.
Melinda’s courageous story also features in RAMHP’s new magazine Take Time which includes ten personal lived experience stories from across NSW including Forster, Orange, Garema, Quambone, Monaro, the Central Coast, Bathurst and Steam Plains.
The key theme is ‘connection through change’ with stories covering issues of grief, disaster, isolation and many other life changes. Each story highlights the importance of connection with other individuals, the environment and the community.
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 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467