Mental illness can impact people’s lives and create challenges in coping with life’s demands such as managing finances. This can impact the replacement and provision of household items and food, a situation further exacerbated by Covid.
There is currently no organisation in Australia that provides specifically for the household needs of those experiencing mental illness. Our area of NSW has a high percentage of mental illness and the work of the Mental Health Support Group (MHSG) is ever increasing.
The MHSG has been operating for 24 years. A close relationship has developed with the Local Health District and non-government organisations who provide support to those who live with mental illness. When a need arises the organisation contacts MHSG and a procedure is put in place. A form is completed with the client that identifies the need. It may be furniture, a washing machine, school uniforms, blankets, a bed or food.
With funding from the Northern Rivers Community Foundation, the MHSG was able to purchase furniture, white goods, electrical appliances, food and school requirements.
The aim of the project was to give dignity and hope and to create a home where rehabilitation and recovery can take place, enabling poeple experiencing mental illness to be connected to their community. Close connections and good relationships with others allow us to enjoy the good times in our lives and help us deal with the hard experiences we face. This is important for all of us!
For those experiencing or living with mental illness, loneliness can be far worse as individuals can face social exclusion, stigma and discrimination. As social beings, this can affect all aspects of our wellbeing.
Project beneficiaries included people experiencing homelessness, those experiencing domestic violence, young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, veterans and people who are impacted by mental illness.
The project not only delivers hope and dignity to the clients, it also supports them in their wellness journey.
Co-ordinator, Barbara Swain thoughtfully summarises the projects success: “We have given those living with mental illness a hand up, not a handout.”