Raphael ‘The Beurologist’ Kaleb Responds to ‘Little Brother, Big Sister’
Make Mine Mental Health: A peer response to Little Brother, Big Sister by Raphael Kaleb
When brothers and sisters have similar hopes and dreams, how do they support each other? Discuss their heroes. Listen and encourage each other. Are proud of each other’s achievements
‘Little Brother, Big Sister’ written by Michel Paul Tuomy is a very touching story of a family trying to make sense of changing circumstances.
Told through the eyes of children wanting their own identities with the spectre of their parents questioning their futures, ‘Little Brother, Big Sister’ poses challenging questions for the audience such as ‘How to love someone unconditionally?’, as circumstances change.
‘Little Brother, Big Sister’ explores issues at the heart of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Family members are often expected to act as unpaid carers. Would you put your whole life on hold to care for another family member when there is no one else to support them?
Mental health fluctuates with a serious illness such as Schizophrenia. When a person has experienced changes in Mental Health over a number of decades with stays in hospital, how does 4 hours of observation by an Independent Assessment Officer adequately gather enough information for the funding of support packages available in the National Disability Insurance Scheme?
Michel Paul Tuomy describes treatment of mental health patients in hospital as degrading, humiliating with all choices taken away from you. In jail, most people are released after serving their sentence. With mental illness, there is no parole and less support for them than a prisoner enjoying freedom in the community. ‘Little Brother, Big Sister’ shows the human side of Mental illness.
On a personal level talking with my peers with a disability, this style of story is familiar. As a creative person, Neil Diamond said” If you want to make meaningful music, look into your own life.” As a creative person with a disability, using Art to share personal stories with the community is one of the best ways to make macro change in the community.
When people share part of their lives in a public forum, as a person with a disability, I find it comforting to know there are other people with similar experiences. Art such as Disability Pride Is Back Mural – Larissa MacFarlane, Mojo Film Festival – Schizy Inc, The Auslan Movement – Chelle Destefano, Say Hello – Carly Findlay heavily influenced me to use my personal experiences in my creativity. ‘Little Brother, Big Sister’ reiterates why it so important that people with a disability have a platform to share their stories their way showing their side of the story
Over cocktails, distinguished gentlemen solve all the problems of the world easily. Michel Paul Tuomy, I would like to propose a toast. “Make Mine Mental Health.”
Raphael ‘The Beurologist’ Kaleb