Western NSW residents suffering from mental illness are being urged this World Suicide Prevention Day to share their experiences with peers in a “free, anonymous and safe” online community.
Forums run by national mental health charity, SANE Australia, are on the website of not-for-profit primary health care provider, Marathon Health, from Monday.
More than 400,000 people with mental illness and carers have used the forums since they were launched four years ago.
A statement released by Marathon Health reports that the forums are monitored around the clock 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”.
“These forums offer unique support that may not otherwise be available for people who are socially or geographically isolated,” Marathon Health’s executive manager of health services Bryan Hoolahan said.
“We welcome this partnership with SANE Australia to help improve mental health outcomes for our communities across NSW and the ACT.”
SANE Australia chief executive officer, Jack Heath, said many of the people reached by the forums came from “rural and regional Australia where mental health services can be fewer”.
These forums offer unique support that may not otherwise be available for people who are socially or geographically isolated.Executive manager of health services for Marathon Health, Bryan Hoolahan
He said the mental health sector could achieve better outcomes for people with mental illness by “working together”.
“SANE has partnerships with 64 mental health organisations to help further the reach of our online forums,” he said.
“Each new partnership allows the forums to connect more people affected by mental illness with others who understand what they’re going through.”
The forums are supported by the federal Department of Health and can be accessed at https://marathonhealth.saneforums.org/.