The festive season can be tough, particularly for those living with poor mental health and trauma. SANE community forums are available to provide support when and where it’s needed.
December and January is traditionally a time for celebration, but for many, the festive season means loneliness, conflict and distress - often amplified by reduced access to regular mental health clinicians and services.
As the national mental health organisation supporting Australians living with complex mental health needs, SANE provides a range of phone and online supports to help people manage their mental health when face to face services are limited.
In particular, the SANE Community Forums provide a safe and welcoming space where people can connect with others who have been in the same circumstance.
SANE CEO, Rachel Green, says this service addresses a critical care gap over the holidays by providing free and easily accessible support when and where it’s needed.
‘The festive season can be a very stressful and lonely time for those living with mental illness and trauma and we want people to know there is always a place you can turn to if it becomes too much.’
‘Our forums provide a safe, online space for those living with complex mental health needs, and their families, friends and carers, to share their experiences, learn from others or simply find an empathetic ear.’
‘With conversation thread covering a range of different areas, and thousands of regular users, there’s always someone up for a supportive chat.’
‘Importantly, SANE Forums are moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals and peer support workers and accessible from any internet enabled device, from anywhere in Australia.’
‘It’s been a tough few years for so many of us, so we strongly urge any Australian struggling with their mental health to reach out to us should you need support over the holiday period.’
SANE Peer Ambassador and forum user Charlotte Osman knows what it’s like to be lonely over the holidays after moving to Australia.
‘I’d moved to Australia just before Christmas in 2001. Beyond the people I’d started working with, I knew nobody in Sydney.’
‘Australians are a friendly bunch but I soon learned that Christmas was a difficult time to arrive as people naturally tend to withdraw to their close family and friend groups which left me as an outsider.’
‘I decided to try and boost my mood by heading to the Botanical Gardens to read in the sunshine. When I got there, I couldn’t even bring myself to open the book, because all I could see was people celebrating together while I was all alone. It was a truly devastating feeling. I took myself off home to bed and didn’t get back out of bed for three days.’
‘In that instance I had to find myself a GP to get the support I needed. Since that time, I’ve discovered SANE forums and that’s where I tell people to go if they feel lonely and need support.’
‘The forum is filled with people who are ready to talk. They’ve come from so many different backgrounds – people with lived experience, carers, healthcare professionals – so it’s such a rich community of minds, brains and hearts. I consider some of the people I’ve met on the SANE forum to be good friends.’
SANE Community Forums and other support services can be accessed at https://www.sane.org/get-support