SANE Australia CEO, Jack Heath, acknowledged the contribution of the many people and organisations involved: the SANE staff, the 39 collaborating partner organisations, the Colonial Foundation, Lithium Technologies, the Federal Government, and the many thousands of Australians who have visited and contributed to the forums.
‘SANE Forums provide access to the huge untapped resource of peer support that exists within the 4 million Australians affected by complex mental illness,’ Jack Heath says.
‘The Forums provide the opportunity to build stronger connections between people affected by complex mental illness who might be feeling isolated both psychologically and geographically,’ Heath adds. ‘The Forums also enable those of us who may have been on a difficult journey for many years to discover we have something profound to offer those just starting off on the journey - by providing a safe, supportive and stigma-free environment we can turn experiences that we may have previously viewed as personal liabilities into assets for the benefit of others.’
SANE Forums was first funded by the previous Government and launched by the current Government in August 2014. The service has exceeded all expectations, engaging with over 100,000 Australians since launch.
The forums are used by people living with mental illness and by family and other carers from all around Australia. A major factor in the success of the service has been the partnership model used, whereby the forums are made available within the websites of mental health organisations around Australia.
‘The fact the Forums have grown to be a vibrant, powerful community in a short space of time is testament to the many people who have led this project along with the power of technology to connect people, especially those of us living in rural and regional Australia,’ Jack Heath says.
‘To receive a prestigious TheMHS Award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the great progress we have made together so far,’ Jack Heath adds.