As Mental Health Month continues, we listen to some online communities and meet people who've found connection and hope through the power of peer support
“Hope is a fragile and precious thing. And for me it has often been the kindness and strength of strangers from all over the world that has given me hope when I thought hope was lost.”
We hope you’ve been making time to focus on your wellbeing this Mental Health Month. Here's another resource to help you look after you, looking at online communities and the healing role they can play.
Many people develop strong connections through online forums, particularly because chatting anonymously with other people with similar experiences – known as peer support – provides an avenue for communicating things that might be too hard or too painful to share with friends and family.
SANE Peer Ambassador, Jess, credits peer support for helping with some extremely tough times.
“I would not be here today without the peer support I have received at my lowest points. Having peers to share with during my highs, lows and everything in between makes my life, on the whole, far more meaningful.”
In fact, this positive impact of peer support motivated Jess to become a qualified Peer Support Worker with SANE Australia, one of Australia's leading mental health charities and service providers - where she now draws on her personal lived experience and informed empathy to help others.
“I am so glad to have found my online community and to now be part of the SANE peer community through my role as a Peer Support Worker. This is not to say that peer support is better than or should replace professional support, but it is a great way of learning practical things you can incorporate in your daily life and for crisis situations."
“This is part of what interested me in becoming a Peer Support Worker. I was aware of all the amazing ways people can come together online and the valuable things that can be learned. I wanted to be a part of providing a safe and supportive space for people to do this.”
You can read more of Jess’ story on the SANE website.
Content note: Jess' story mentions suicide.
And if you feel like you need some additional help or advice, you'll have free access to SANE's 'best in class' 1 to 1 Wellbeing Check-in - a 25-minute mental health check-in and chat with a professional Peer Support Worker, completely anonymous and confidential, at a time that suits you.
This free Wellbeing Check-in is available exclusively to International Towers community members in Tower Two, Tower Three or International House.
Mental Health Month encourages us all to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental ill-health or not. We're incredibly proud and excited to partner with SANE Australia, a national charity helping people live long and fulfilling lives, free from stigma and discrimination. They support anyone affected by mental health issues, including family and friends, through information and stories, peer support, and counselling.