Podcast: JLR Unfiltered.

Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross has launched a new mental health-related podcast, JLR Unfiltered.

The podcast will see the 33-year-old father-of-two discuss his own journey after surviving a mental health crisis in 2018 that saw him sectioned to and treated in an acute mental health facility.

“As I was thanking staff after leaving Middlemore Hospital’s Tiaho Mai unit last year, following an attempt to harm myself, one of the nurses suggested I use my experiences and voice in Parliament to speak up for others,” Mr Ross says.

“JLR Unfiltered is part of my commitment to do just that.

“I will be using the podcast to try to ask and answer many of the questions New Zealanders have about mental health, the mental health system, and how we can all support people who are suffering from these challenges.”

In Episode 1 of JLR Unfiltered Mr Ross explains how taking up the challenge of one of the nurses at Middlemore Hospital has lead him to start the podcast.

He narrates the beginning of the audio with a very personal and detailed account of his experience the night he was detained by NZ Police under the Mental Health Act near train tracks in Waikato.

He spends the rest of the half-hour explaining his reasons for starting the podcast, as well discussing the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.

“I have been overwhelmed by the positive response of so many New Zealanders. The compassion and kindness out there is incredible.

“I want to help New Zealanders understand how to help their friends, colleagues and loved ones with mental health issues.

“When you feel the world is closing in around you and there are only bad options, not knowing that you will be treated with empathy, care and love can make it worse.

“While I would never wish what I went through on anyone, coming out the other side has given me a new appreciation of how wonderful New Zealanders are, and that in hind sight nothing was as bad as it seemed.

“I hope others suffering in silence can understand that they do have a future, and that they can come back to a community that values them.”

Mr Ross says he will use the podcast platform to hold discussions with mental health experts, survivors, and policy makers.

His first podcast discussion will be released within the next week, where he gives permission to his own psychiatrist to be open about his health struggles last year, in an effort to help identify when someone is in distress.

Mr Ross says from time to time he will also explore wider health and political issues, but the primary focus will remain on mental health.