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Only someone who has experienced mental illness can truly appreciate the isolation that often comes with the illness. And only someone who has loved a person with mental illness can understand the despair of watching the daily struggle of many.
Mental illness is one of the most isolating conditions of all. It affects how a person thinks and feels, how they behave and communicate, and how they interact with those around them. It can devastate relationships and place an enormous challenge on both the person and those who love them.
Yet, despite the fact that around 1 in 5 Australians experience mental health challenges, people who do so are among the most vulnerable in our community. (There are disproportionately high rates of mental illness among the homeless and a recent study found that people with mental illness were four times more likely to be victims of violence.)
The discrimination experienced by so many people with mental illness can be devastating, and socially isolating. “If I don’t leave the house, I don’t have to deal with it…” is how one visitor to Anglicare’s A Place to Belong explains it.
A Place to Belong provides access to support and positive interaction for adults with mental illness from all walks of life. This unique community service, established in 1995, is about building inclusion for people who experience mental health challenges.
It focuses on reconnecting people with their loved ones or their communities. For some, that means building bridges with estranged loved ones; for others, it means the chance to re-engage with the workforce or in social interactions…and for many, it’s simple and first steps: the chance to build a one-on-one relationship with someone they trust.