Suzette Misrachi completed her Bachelor of Social Work (Advanced Standing) at La Trobe in 2001. She is a Medicare-approved mental health practitioner specialising in grief and trauma with a background in child and adolescent mental health. Suzette is also a professional supervisor and international presenter. She was invited to Japan one year after the earthquake and tsunami tragedies to present on men’s grief, trauma, and child and adolescent grief for medical personnel and bereaved parents.
In 2012 Suzette completed a Masters (via research) entitled: “Lives unseen: Unacknowledged Trauma of Non-disordered, Competent Adult Children of Parents with a Severe Mental Illness” at University of Melbourne. Her thesis, downloaded well over 9,000 times (and still climbing towards 10,000) in more than 63 countries, is currently in the top 3 most popular theses from the University of Melbourne’s Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences faculty, and ranks as most popular downloaded item in all of North America.
Suzette is possibly the only one in the world to identify and research this population group, according to European trauma experts Dr Joseph Schwartz and Professor Onno van der Hart (see: Suzette's research on trauma). In 2016 Suzette ran a successful 'hands-on' professional workshop, based on her research, for the organisation Turning Point. Suzette is regularly invited to write on grief and trauma in numerous publications, including the AASW National Bulletin, European Society for Trauma & Dissociation (ESTD) Newsletter, and MindCafe, an e-publication for practitioners keeping current with psychiatric and psychological research and opinion. (Example: See Suzette's site on Medium). Her diverse, far-reaching activities touch many around the globe.
While doing my research, I considered myself to be an ordinary woman stating the obvious. Yet it became increasingly clear that having read my thesis, people could no longer go back to who they were, or who they thought they were, and mental health practitioners attending my workshop said it’s changed the way they work. While it’s gratifying to be publicly acknowledged in Australia and overseas as being the first to have identified a much ignored subset of the wider trauma population, I certainly hope I’m not the last! Studies have long-established the relationship between adverse experience during childhood (i.e., adults with specific trauma histories relating to abuse and neglect) and subsequent negative physical ill health during adulthood. Fortunately, the Australian government is now finally funding public education specifically on the theme of “trauma” for children of parents with a mental illness. But there's still a long way to go.
My sole purpose in doing this research was for people within this sub-group of the wider trauma population to know that they are not alone, and for others including policy-leaders to understand and support them better. The general public has a right to know about potential consequences if raised by parents with a serious mental illness. Everybody’s affected – including tax-payers! I hope my work carries positive and far-reaching influence.
Through her work, Suzette – who is also poet and ‘performance-inspired’ song-writer – hopes to galvanize others and leave in perpetuity all her hard-earned efforts and battles fought for future generations.