In the Age of Instant where texts, emails and photos can be sent with the tap of a thumb from wherever you are in the world, there is little chance of finding peace, and finding a moment to be truly alone. But in this world, we are also feeling more isolated and more disconnected than ever before. With all the noise we surround ourselves with, nothing is being said.

Mental illness is at crisis point, and all around us the problem is getting closer and closer to home. In Australia more than one million people are suffering from depression, that’s 1 in 6 women, and 1 in 8 men. More than two million people are suffering from anxiety, that’s 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 5 men. 75% of mental illnesses appear before we are twenty-five years old.

Fortunately, as the issue surrounding mental illness, and the number of sufferers grow, so too do organisations and support networks to help.

No matter what happens in life. No matter what obstacles you face. And no matter how they may bring you down, there is always one constant in life – family.

Family comes in all shapes, sizes and varieties. Some you are born into, some you buy into – but all are there for you no matter what problem you may face.

Your family are the ones who know you inside and out. They are the ones you come home to at the end of the day. And they are the ones who will love you unconditionally.

But when there are voices inside your head saying that there is something wrong with you, and that you are immoral or doing something bad – family can seem to be the hardest ones to face up to.

There are people in life who are dealt a tough hand and crumble. There are people in life who fall, never to rise again.

But then, there are the few people who manage to pull themselves up from the darkest pits of hell. People who manage to overcome the most crippling of adversities and come out the other side. People like Tony Jackett.

This man was dragged down, hit rock bottom but rose nonetheless

Life has a way of testing us – testing our strength, testing our resolve, testing our resilience through adversity and life certainly tested every ounce of strength that this man possessed.

Wise Guy (noun): a man or woman who thinks that it is funny, interesting and/or necessary to gossip about another’s sexuality.

There are some who love to find power and ‘intelligence’ within themselves when they say, “I always knew they were gay”. To them, they are the Olivia Benson of the LGBT world, solving the most pressing issues in the lives of others and commending themselves ten-fold for doing so.

So to those wise guys…please, shut up.Michael: Four Years

I’ve had people’s parents, classmates, even employers use the question mark around my sexuality (pre-2011) as the most interesting thing they can bring to the table when talking to others. These are people who have nothing more stimulating to talk about than whether the quiet teenager from Surrey Hills will end up marrying a man.

The stage has been set, it’s a-ok to be gay and roll with the punches on the footy field (high-fives to Jason Ball and the increasingly-supportive AFL community). With this opens the flood gates for same-sex attracted footy players’ partners to join the footy hierarchy and reach the big time – as a member of the WAGs.

This is my story.