Introducing Bernie

Meet Bernie, who lives with bipolar disorder. Bernie’s story teaches us that disability can be an advantage, and that by embracing it, you can not only survive, but thrive. Bernie’s lived experience with bipolar disorder made her the perfect candidate for a position with Neami, an organisation which supports those with mental illness across Australia.



Bernie harnesses the power of creativity

Bernie’s story focuses on the written word and illustrates how harnessing creativity can give a sense of purpose to people with disability. Bernie’s passion is writing, and her ultimate dream is to be a published author. In this short film we get up close and personal with Bernie’s manuscript – a piece she wrote as therapy for her bipolar disorder.


“In a poem I can tell a whole story, in just a couple of lines”

– Bernie

Disability does not equal disadvantage

Bernie’s story shows us that someone with a disability can sometimes be better suited for a role. In the case of Bernie, her experience living with bipolar disorder gives her a unique understanding of how best to support others living with mental illness.


Michelle Schofield, Bernie’s recruitment partner at CoAct Service Partner, Worklink, provided job search support, training and counselling for Bernie in the lead up to her landing the Neami role.

“She definitely wasn’t as confident as she is now, she’s grown and can’t be happier. Bernie is a very, very intelligent lady. I can see her going a long way”.



Diverse staff = an asset for businesses

When asked about disability employment, Michelle explains that employing someone with a mental illness can be a huge asset for a business.


“When you employ someone with a mental illness, they actually want to work, and because it can be hard for them to get work, they are going to work real hard at their job”.


Watch Bernies story here and find out how you can be part of the movement for change in disability employment in Australia.

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