A Resilient Woman

Stories | April 24, 2024

Margie, a mother of seven, is a daycare worker in a small coastal village in the Philippines.

A few years ago, Margie was diagnosed with a mental health condition after displaying some out of character behaviour. Her husband recalls, “she jumped through the window, ran to the church, rang the bell, and began babbling nonsense.” But Margie had no idea what she was doing and after, was criticised by relatives, neighbours, and the community. They made fun of her, saying that she was demented and possessed by an evil spirit.

Margie stopped doing day to day activities and had to rely on her husband’s fishing earnings to buy her medicine. This made her feel dysfunctional and useless to her family. Fortunately, with the right treatment, her condition improved. However, the stigma and discrimination associated with her mental illness remained.

“The saddest part was that, despite being completely recovered, I was bullied by my own students. Some kids threw rocks at me, believing I was still mentally sick… It is not acceptable to mock and bully teachers, especially when they are suffering from mental illness,” says Margie. “When I walked in the streets, I noticed several gossipers would talk about me. I was filled with rage, hurt, and pain, but I just walked on and ignored them. I would go home and sit down to assess myself… Even after I had been completely healed, they treated me like I had a disease. So sometimes I would just do some housework to keep myself busy and forget everything.”

Since becoming involved in a CBM supported project that is helping people with mental health conditions, Margie’s outlook on life has improved greatly. She has been given the knowledge and tools to help her manage her mental health and the social stigma attached to it. She is connecting with others with mental health conditions, making her feel less alone.

“Now I know how to handle and comfort myself, especially during periods of depression, because of the knowledge and rights that you revealed to us. And because of you, I have gained more self-confidence. I am grateful that there are programs like this to help us and open doors for people like me. I hope you can help more people,” says Margie.

A community health worker chatting to Margie

Image caption: A community health worker chatting to Margie about her mental health, ensuring she is supported and getting the help she needs.

CBM Australia would like to thank our implementing partner for their support in this project.

Back to Stories

Your donation could save lives

Related Stories

A Light of Hope

Content Warning: The story in this letter refers to suicide, which may be distressing for some readers. If you or someone you know is in need of support, please...

Small Business, Big Impact: supporting mental health in Indonesia

Work is a big part of our lives. Not...

Rise and Thrive: Building resilient communities through inclusive mental health

As the climate crisis accelerates, communities across the Indo-Pacific...