To mark Mental Health Month this October, Australian country music singer and songwriter, Melinda Schneider, has released a new single Be Gentle on Yourself, focusing on the importance of self-love and self-care.
The Central Coast resident began performing at the age of three and recording at the age of eight.
She has since released multiple albums and won numerous Golden Guitar awards at the Country Music Awards of Australia in Tamworth.
However, Schneider said a lifetime in the spotlight could take its toll, and she hopes she can help others by sharing her own lived experience of mental ill-health.
“I was raised to be a ‘nice girl’, a happy little pretty thing and always to tell a positive story,” Schneider said.
“It’s taken a lot of inner strength for me to get to this point of telling my story of struggle, publicly.
“For me, to Be Gentle on Yourself means learning to stop self-judgment and treating myself with the same unconditional love I give my child.
“This doesn’t come easily as it takes daily practice, and I am a work in progress.”
With the constant pressures to put on a happy face and project a public image of success and perfection, Schneider experienced her first bout of depression on Mother’s Day, 2018.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Schneider battled feelings of sadness, shame and hopelessness, but said taking that time out to reconcile her thoughts and feelings made all the difference, and she started to feel better slowly.
She is now an advocate for speaking out and has recently taken on the role of Ambassador for the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (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’.
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.
Media Release Oct 8
Rural Adversity Mental Health Program