When Glenn Jarvis came out of psychiatric care having been diagnosed with schizophrenia, the stigma he faced was "terrible".
The Queanbeyan resident, now 50, would walk from his supported accommodation to the nearby bowling club, and be subjected to taunts from a select few patrons.
Mr Jarvis struggled to get work for a while, but eventually landed a job as a mental health "consumer advocate" at a hospital.
He spent the next five years advocating and lobbying for changes to the treatment and acceptance of mental health issues and, many years on, he felt his work was still not done.
"I'd like to see the health service really get their act together," Mr Jarvis said.
"People expect a more therapeutic, holistic experience from the mental health service than what they get; it's very inefficient."
Monday, May 24 is World Schizophrenia Day.
Mr Jarvis said people with schizophrenia should be treated with more compassion during and after their first episode of psychosis, because that could make them more likely to co-operate with things like taking their medication.
He said if people got on top of things after their first episode of psychosis, they may just have the one, and that could mean they might be able to get off their medication further down the track.
"If people are treated a little bit more compassionately during their first episode [of psychosis], then I think ... [they would be] more likely to just have the one episode than have two or three or four, and then up more debilitated and staring down a lifetime of living on welfare and being on medication," Mr Jarvis said.
He wanted people to know that if those with schizophrenia were properly supported, they could go on to live fulfilling lives like he had.
After Mr Jarvis left his job as a consumer advocate, he worked in disability support for 12 years, then came to employment search service Workways in Queanbeyan looking for a change.
His recruitment partner Jaia Pritchard helped him land a job as a disability support worker at Coordinated Care Services in Queanbeyan. He found the job particularly fulfilling given he was able to take clients on day trips and holidays.
"[Mr Jarvis is] really passionate about giving [his] clients that sort of quality of life service," Mr Pritchard said.
"A big part of my job is breaking those stereotypes and breaking those stigma."
Mr Pritchard said he wanted employers, when they were asked to consider someone with schizophrenia, to picture someone like Mr Jarvis who had a long and strong work history, was calm and composed, and good at his job.
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