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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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My lightbulb moment

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When I was in high school I visited my brother at university. I remember reading a sign that said, 'Feeling homesick? Feeling lonely?' and listed support services.

In my naivety I asked, 'How can you feel alone when you are surrounded by people?' Little did I know, three years later I would find out.

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How you can help if I'm struggling

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It can be daunting when someone you know isn't quite right or is struggling with their mental health.

They may be experiencing mania, paranoia, anxiety, depression or any other symptom of mental illness. It's a distressing time for all involved.

A big question we're often asked by friends, family and supporters is, 'How can I help?'

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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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What not to say to someone with a mental illness

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It's a sad reality that people living with mental illness will hear inappropriate comments, sometimes at a time when they are struggling.

A glib, flippant or offhand comment – whether born of ignorance, awkwardness, or arrogance – can cut to the bone and leave people questioning their place in the world.

So, what's the worst thing you can say to someone living with a mental illness? 

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Supporting someone having thoughts of suicide

Supporting someone having thoughts of suicide

Are you concerned someone you know is having thoughts of suicide? This can be a very distressing situation, as many people don’t know how to help.

It's common for people to think that talking about suicide increases the risk. This is not the case. This myth can stop important discussions from taking place.

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Five important lessons from people who have attempted suicide

Five important lessons from people who have attempted suicide

Last year I had the privilege of interviewing 31 people who had attempted suicide.

We talked about a range of issues, including the triggers that led them to feeling suicidal, support received (both helpful and unhelpful), the challenge of talking with others about their experience, and the progress they had made developing coping skills.

These interviews were the basis of Lessons for Life, a research report that highlights what helps and hinders people who attempt suicide. Throughout the process participants shared their invaluable insights into areas of critical importance, these included . . .

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