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Caring for yourself and others during COVID

You are not alone

In SANE's COVID mental health series, Tanya talks about the pandemic's impact on people living with complex mental health issues. She shares her tips on how to care for ourselves and others.

What a start to 2020. As we all came together as a community and attempted to deal with the fallout of the bushfire crisis, none of us could have foreseen that there was another huge challenge looming on the horizon. 

The COVID crisis is unprecedented. And it’s confusing and worrying for all of us – causing increased stress, anxiety and fear in many.

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Brisbane boy hosts 24 hour fundraising climb after brother's struggle with OCD

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What were you doing in Year 12?

Brisbane student Rohan is putting all of our teenage selves to shame by organising an ambitious fundraiser for SANE Australia, with a goal of raising $5000.

"I decided to run a 24 hour climb-a-thon at Kangaroo Point cliffs with a team of 12 climbers" he says.

"The reason I chose this is because my older brother has struggled with anxiety and OCD for many years, which also led to a period of addiction to a medically prescribed drug. I have seen first hand the impact of this on the individual, their family and friends and know how important it is for so much more research to be done to support mental health awareness and issues. I found SANE Australia and like the work they are doing, so I decided to make a difference through supporting them."

Rohan (second from left) and a group of climbing friends

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3

Five ways to reduce stigma in the workplace

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Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart from others. It can occur due to misunderstanding as well as prejudice. For people living with mental illness, stigma can lead to a lack of support or compassion, leaving them feeling misunderstood and marginalised.   Stigma is sadly prevalent in the workplace. Many workers are r...
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Why diagnosing at a distance doesn’t help (and what to do instead)

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When it comes to mental health, we all tend to diagnose people from a distance from time to time. It doesn't necessarily come from a bad place. Sometimes it comes from a place of curiosity, empathy, or thinking you can help another human being out by sharing what you've observed about their behaviour. After all, it can be hard to speak up about men...
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7

What you need to know about relapse in bipolar disorder

david-marcu-unsplash-1700x115_20180913-042550_1 Bipolar affects more people than you think.

Bipolar disorder causes people to experience intense mood swings – from manic highs to depressive lows. Not everyone experiences bipolar the same way, however, it is estimated that at least 75 per cent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder will relapse, even when following a treatment plan. 

In bipolar disorder, a relapse is defined as the return of depression or a manic or hypomanic episode after a period of wellness. Sometimes it is possible to predict a relapse; often it is not. For many, the onset of a relapse seems to come out of the blue.

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22

Feeling excluded from a loved one’s recovery journey

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Experiencing a sense of helplessness can be a common experience for people supporting a loved one with a mental illness. It's natural to be alarmed by what's happening to your loved one and concerned about your capacity to support them.

This sense of helplessness can be exacerbated if you feel excluded from your loved one's recovery journey or unable to connect with them. Mental illness – no matter how severe or mild – can play havoc with a person's thinking, feelings and behaviour. It can cause distress and difficulty in functioning, and lead people to distance or detach themselves from their support network.

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What's in a name? Carer, supporter or something else?

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'I never considered myself to be a carer until another parent of a young person with a mental illness told me that I was eligible for a carer's allowance.

'At that moment I realised that what I was doing for my son was beyond normal mothering. Despite not pursuing the carer's allowance, I felt good about the fact that my efforts were worthy of recognition.'

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Navigating the system

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As a mother and carer of a son with mental illness, I've spent years traversing the system seeking care and support.

Over the years I've tackled education, health care, family and community services, human resources and at times the legal system.

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Worrying when away from a loved one

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Supporting someone living with a mental illness can be a stressful experience. And it certainly doesn't come with an instruction manual.

For some carers, supporting someone means endless internal dialogue about the health and wellbeing of their loved one. Did they take their medication? Are they out of bed? Have they eaten? Showered? Where are they right now?

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A day in the life of the SANE Help Centre

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The staff who answer the phones at mental health hotlines are at the coalface of the industry, working directly to help people in crisis. 

SANE followed a typical day in our Help Centre, which offers 12,000 hours of free specialist support every year for people affected by complex mental illness.

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