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'Discover More': How my brothers’ experiences with schizophrenia sparked my decision to become an advocate.

Sarah is wearing a blue jumper and leaning against a stone wall smiling at the camera.
Sarah Sutton is a sister, a daughter, a psychologist, and a sibling carer for her two brothers, both diagnosed with schizophrenia. For over eight years, she’s been a passionate advocate for increased recognition of the work of carers and their unique lived experiences.

This Schizophrenia Awareness Week, Sarah invites others to ‘discover more’ about her invaluable experiences as a carer, as well as a SANE Peer Ambassador.

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‘Discover More’: the power of choir and community to expand horizons

Jenni and Niall standing in front of the Voices of Frankston banner at the Frankston Uniting Church

From singing alongside acrobats, community and acceptance, to improvement in mental health symptoms, Niall and Jenni chat about the empowerment that comes from ‘finding their voice’ in Voices of Frankston.

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'Discover More': how my husband's schizophrenia led me to Oxford University...twice!

Sandra is standing outside, smiling and wearing a patterned shirt. Sun is shining on her and the trees and plants behind her.

I eloped with my partner in November 1985, wearing huge ‘leg of mutton’ puff sleeves and listening to Starship’s ‘We built this city’. I worked in marketing and he was a registered nurse. He was funny, quirky, different and we were in love. We did what everyone was doing; buying a house, partying, dinners, birthdays, Christmas and in a blink, ten years had passed.

In 1998 our son was born, and everything seemed perfect. Seemed.

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'The death sentence didn't eventuate': the importance of discovering hope and purpose

Sandy is on a hockey pitch with her hockey stick in position to hit a ball. She is wearing a purple uniform and rainbow coloured socks.

From poet and violinist, to hockey player and advocate, Sandy Jeffs OAM is also one of SANE’s longest serving Peer Ambassadors, sharing her experience of living with schizophrenia for 45 years to shape public policy and help others. 

This Schizophrenia Awareness Week, which coincides with SANE’s 35th anniversary, we chat to Sandy about the ‘heady’ early days of SANE, becoming a public figure, and ‘curating’ a life towards wellness, despite the daily challenges.   

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COVID-19 vaccine available for adults living with complex mental health issues

Person sitting on couch looking at their smart phone.

Did you know that if you have a complex mental health issue, you might be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine now?

The Australian Government states that 'adults with specified underlying medical conditions' are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as part of phase 1b, which is rolling out now. This includes people with 'severe mental health conditions'.

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OCD: the symptoms you don’t see

A photo of Tim from the shoulders up looking into camera calmly.

You might have seen Tim on ABC’s You Can’t Ask That sharing his experiences of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Here, he gives even more insight into living with OCD, the symptoms people don’t see and how acceptance gives him strength.  

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‘Finding our way’: a mum and son navigate the path to recovery together

Marg and Mark sitting together outdoors smiling at the camera, Marg has her hand resting on Mark's shoulder

Marg was there when her son Mark had his first episode of psychosis five years ago, and has been part of his support network ever since. Mark’s road to recovery has meant building a new life for himself, and supporting others impacted by mental health issues.  

In celebration of Mother’s Day, here Marg and Mark share things they’ve learnt along the way, the importance of empathy and the need to support carers in their journeys too. 

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Telling a partner about past sexual assault

Two people sitting close together holding hands in a supportive way

The decision to tell a partner about a history of sexual trauma is a deeply personal choice. It can bring up mixed emotions that are hard to sort through.  

If you feel ready to have this conversation with your partner, I’m offering some advice to help you feel even more prepared. 

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How to ‘be a man’ living with bipolar – from relationships to dealing with male stereotypes

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What does it mean to be an Aussie man living with bipolar and navigating relationships?

We ask Matt and Mark, two SANE Peer Ambassadors, about their experiences. They share how they deal with stigma, harmful stereotypes, and what they find helpful from the people close to them. At the end of the day, they say speaking up about their mental health (as hard as it can be) allows others to do the same.

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Dating with bipolar disorder

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Vulnerability, trust and authenticity are the foundations of any successful relationship. It takes time to really get to know someone and build genuine intimacy. In the initial phases of dating, everyone tries to put their best foot forward to impress their prospective partner.

The ‘honeymoon’ phase is ideally full of fun, laughter and good times as we enjoy spending time getting to know the other person. The reality is that we all have our challenges and flaws which will rear their heads when life becomes stressful or we have our first conflict with our loved one.

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