Two of Australia’s leading community organisations, Lifeline and SANE Australia, have today announced they are working in partnership to support people with mental health concerns through shared online peer support forums.
The SANE Online Forums have been integrated into Lifeline’s website and provide a safe and anonymous online space for individuals, families, friends and carers with mental health concerns.
Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said the innovative online forums use technology to connect people with others who understand what they’re going through.
“The integration of the SANE Online Forums into Lifeline’s website is an important addition to our digital suite of services, harnessing the significant but often untapped power of people with lived experience,” Mr Shmigel said.
“With 100,000 people surviving a suicidal crisis each year, and one in five Australians living with mental illness, this partnership is about raising awareness of available mental health support services to help keep people healthy, connected to community and alive.
“The forums are monitored 24/7 by mental health professionals, allowing people to talk openly with others about their challenges and experiences, offer support and insight, and share other helpful resources.
“The stories shared on these forums can be both heart-breaking and heart-warming, and the positive and caring peer support provided highlights the strength and resilience found in communities across the country.”
SANE Australia CEO Jack Heath believes it’s important the mental health sector works together to achieve better outcomes for those affected by mental illness.
“At SANE Australia, we partner with 49 mental health organisations, including Lifeline, to syndicate the reach of our online forums,” Mr Heath said.
“Together, we are opening up a huge peer support community – something SANE could never do on our own.
“The forums launched in 2015 and in that short time we’ve reached more than 245,000 people, many of those in rural and regional Australia where access to mental health support can be limited.
“We’re proud to partner with Lifeline to reach thousands more people dealing with complex mental illness.”
For online peer support around mental health concerns, visit the SANE Online Forums. For 24/7 crisis support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.