By LAUREN INGRAM FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
Stefani Caminiti is like many young women her age: she’s studying, working, and planning her wedding to her fiance.
She also has, like more than four million Australians, been diagnosed with a mental illness or behavioural problem.
The 28-year-old from Perth has lived with depression and anxiety for most of her life, but was only officially diagnosed 10 years ago.
‘I went undiagnosed as a child,’ she told Daily Mail Australia. ‘My first memory of feeling that way would have been when I was eight years old.’
Despite discussions around mental illness becoming more prevalent, Ms Caminiti explained that there was a stigma around it, and so she didn’t tell people about her diagnosis.
‘For many years it was a big dirty secret, I didn’t want to tell anyone,’ she said. ‘People have a misconception of mental illness. Society is scared of what they don’t know.’
The 28-year-old battled with her mental illness for many years, until in 2013 things got so bad that she attempted suicide.
‘I tried to end my life and I survived,’ Ms Caminiti explained. ‘That resulted in a three month stay in a psychiatric facility.’
After spending three months in hospital doing intensive therapy, Ms Caminiti decided that she needed to be open and vocal about mental illness.
This meant no more hiding her ‘big dirty secret’ but instead telling family and friends what she was going through and trying to break the stigma.
She also started the Inner Ninja Foundation and began to work as mental health advocate and speaker.