I am an adult male with a lifelong mental health illness, who also has both a serious heart condition and eye sight problems. Caring for my health by being medication compliant, eating healthy food and exercising are priorities at all times.

However, such health issues bring with them social negtives and it is difficult to find acceptance in main stream society much of the time.

As a result, I sought the assistance of a group called Footprints in South Brisbane. I expressed my desirfe to join a writing group and the Brisbane School of Hard Knocks (now Upbeat Arts) was recommended.

To my delight, I found that they also ran two other programs, namely the Absolutely Everybody Brisbane Choir and a musical theatre group, both of which I joined several months ago. These groups meet regularly every Friday at Common Gr9und and enable me to associate with and befriend people who have also suffered many hardships in life.

The people who organise and run the programs are sensitive, caring, sincere and capable.

It is in this environment that I am now finding acceptance!

The activities are varied and lively; not too difficult to learn or to perform and always fun.

Such experience is gradually giving me greater belief in myself; expanding my social horizon and growing my self-confidence and self-esteem. I have to be organised and prepared. I must concentrate and learn to recall from one week to another. I have learnt some positive things about myself. It feels so good to feel accepted and to belong!

I hope to continue with these programs for quite some time yet and know that it will enable me to continue on my path of personal growth. Such an inclusive group will no doubt benefit my overall well being; my mental health and lead to many more positive social experiences.