Ben Konig, pictured with sister Molly, is holding a mental health dinner at Fish on Parkyn, Mooloolaba, to raise money and awareness for mental health. Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily
Ben Konig, pictured with sister Molly, is holding a mental health dinner at Fish on Parkyn, Mooloolaba, to raise money and awareness for mental health. Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily Iain Curry

Meet the illness no one wants to talk about

"WE do not stigmatise people with physical illnesses, so why should we stigmatise people with mental illnesses?"

In the past six years, 17-year-old Molly Koning has battled with mental illness, but she's not alone.

"Molly has suffered from a wide range of conditions. There have been times in the last few years that life has seemed much too hard for her," Molly's older brother Ben said.

"We are fortunate that we are a very close family and have been able to rally together to offer support for Molly and each other."

Ben said mental health affected many people directly and indirectly, yet it still had such a stigma around it.

"No one wants to talk about it, even though it's an illness, just like cancer or broken bones," he said.

"With recent events such as Robin Williams' passing, it's a timely reminder that it can affect anyone anytime anywhere."

That is why the Koning family is holding a Mental Health Awareness Dinner and Fundraiser on October 7 at Fish on Parkyn, Mooloolaba.

The event will raise money for beyondblue, The Back Dog Institute and Kids Help Line.

But while Ben said the fundraising was important, raising awareness of mental health issues and dispelling the stigma around the illness was vital.

"The symptoms of mental illness are distressing enough without having to cope with the harmful effects of stigma," he said.

"We do not stigmatise people with physical illnesses, so why should we stigmatise people with mental illnesses.

"Often the representation involves hurtful inaccuracies such as violent, comical or incompetent."

Bookings are essential. Call Fish on Parkyn 5444 4711. To donate items to be auctioned on the night, email ben.koning@sakanasushibar.com.au.



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