Every day nearly 700,000 Australians live with bipolar, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, PTSD and the most complex forms of anxiety and depression. And every day at least five other people in their lives including family, friends, colleagues and loved ones are also affected by their condition. That’s four million of us, each affected in different ways, and too often considered a burden or an imposition on others due to stigma in society. Over the past few years in Australia we have made great advances in reducing stigma around mild-to-moderate mental health illnesses. Now more than ever people are seeking help, but there is still work ahead of us to help those at the more complex end of the spectrum.
SANE’s Helpline, which is supported solely through the generosity of the community, provides vital support, information, guidance, and referrals from trained professionals to people who have nowhere else to turn. But we know that peer support is also a proven, viable and effective adjunct to traditional forms of psychiatric care. For the past year Lifeline’s CEO Pete Shmigel and myself have been working with our respective teams to create a strategic alliance where together, we achieve better outcomes for those affected by mental illness. We have already seen the integration of the SANE Online Forums into Lifeline’s website and now we plan to pilot a new program with Lifeline that will see peer support workers employed through the SANE Helpline. To manage the increased volume of calls and extend the reach of our service, especially for people who are unable to reach us after hours, we intend to employ mental health peer support workers to answer calls during weekdays from 5pm to 10pm.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us. We look forward to updating you about the impact your donation is having.