Congratulations Jessica on being awarded an AM for your work in mental health advocacy.
In today’s Sydney Morning Herald Jessica was quoted as saying….
“I was hoping I might get a tiara,” exclaims Jessica Rowe, bubbling over with excitement. “It’s the little girl in me!”
The 44-year-old television presenter says she is “incredibly humbled and just blessed” to be honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia for her long commitment to mental health advocacy and her 20-year career in broadcasting.
Rowe’s parents possessed a strong sense of social justice and impressed upon her and her two sisters “the importance of being part of something bigger; that it’s not just about you”.
When we interviewed Jessica she discussed her passion for helping women receive the right help to deal with mental health issues.
Women have become experts at faking it. No, this isn’t a reference to that memorable scene in the movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’ but rather a comment on how women have developed an uncanny ability to pretend that everything is perfect in their world – even when their reality is far from peachy.
Why do we feel the need to keep up appearances? Why do we go to such extraordinary lengths to convince our business colleagues, our friends, our family members that we are ‘great, thanks’ – when we are not?
Television host Jessica Rowe tells Deborah that when she was struck down with postnatal depression after the birth of her first child she was scared of talking about her condition for fear of being judged.
“As women, we’re not honest enough with each other. We put up these masks about how busy we are, how fabulous we are, how terrific our lives are. But once you do admit how you are feeling – you give others permission to be honest as well,” she said.
Before the birth of her first child, Jessica spoke out about her mother’s bipolar condition and how their lives had been impacted by the illness. Confessing to the public about her own depression was a much more intense experience for the TV journalist.
“For many months I tried to ignore it. I tried to push it away. I felt ashamed. I had a great life. I had nothing to be depressed about. I felt the stigma that so many people who suffer from mental illnesses experience which is why, in the end, I decided to talk about it,” she said.
Jessica says that since going public with her story she has received many emails from women in a similar situation.
“Once you begin that conversation, you find out how many other people are touched by depression – whether it be themselves, someone they love, someone close to them, someone they work with. We are all struggling in our own way, which is why it’s so important to tell it like it is,” Jessica said.
After seeing how other women were empowered by her honesty, Jessica decided to interview high profile women and feature their stories and struggles in a book titled ‘Love Wisdom Motherhood’.
Jessica tells Deborah that she was blessed to have been able to feature a range of inspirational women in the book including Lisa McCune, Heidi Middleton, Elizabeth Broderick, Wendy Harmer, Collette Dinnigan, Maggie Tabberer, Tina Arena, Quentin Bryce, Nova Peris, Gail Kelly, and Darcey Bussell.
If you’d like to know more about Jessica Rowe or purchase her book – head to her website.
If you require help with depression or anxiety – be sure to visit Beyond Blue.