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Q&A: Ask your questions about SANE's growing Service Model

Hi SANE Community,


Earlier today, we announced some changes to SANE’s Services which will allow us to offer a new program on top of our existing self-guided services. 😊


We know that change can bring up some questions, and we want to ensure that we have a space to answer them!


So, please ask any questions that might be on your mind (whether they are big or small), and we will do our best to answer them.


There might be some questions I need to ask other SANE team members to make sure we get you the right information - if this is the case, I will let you know and get back to you as soon as I have an answer.


Quick snapshot of the changes

As you know, SANE offers a range of free digital and telehealth services for people living with complex mental health issues and their families, friends and carers, including our counselling, peer support, social groups, forums, and information and resources.


Last year, SANE received new funding from the Federal Government and have expanded its services to offer existing self-guided services as well as a new guided program for people with complex mental health needs and their carers, depending on where they are at in their journey and recovery.


In short, this new program will be a tailored approach to our services by bringing together a range of SANE’s supports for people who need a little more at different times. At the moment, we are piloting this program in a number of locations across Australia and will be expanding access to more areas over time.


You can read all about the changes and increased supports available in this new service model here. We would encourage you to have a read of this discussion, because it also covers some of the service changes that will be starting this week in preparation!


Community forums will operate as usual, and will be moderated 24/7 by health professionals throughout the roll out of these service changes.


A quick note for those who might be joining the community forums for the first time, we have some Community Guidelines that can help you post. They focus on values of safety, respect, and anonymity.


Re: Q&A: Ask your questions about SANE's growing Service Model

Hey @Daisydreamer I have a question - why is it that we continue to talk about SANE delivering services to people with complex mental health issues. I find this to be very alienating to those that do not see their mental health issues as complex and find personally that this description actually adds to the stigma around mental health. I absolutely acknowledge that many people do have mental health issues that are complex in both living with, diagnoses, accessing a variety of supports and generally navigating their way through each day but there are also many that have a singular diagnosis or several diagnoses that are managed who do not see them as complex in terms of understanding, working with and receiving help/support. For me personally, I am very much aware of what I am living with, why I have reached this point and what I need to do to manage my mental health - I do not find any of that complex in any way ...challenging at times and a struggle at times but never complex I am asking why in a society that continues to perpetuate the stigma around mental illnesses in so many areas do we then add to those voices in adding another label such as complex - why can we not just describe what SANE does here as providing services to people with mental health issues? Interested to know your thoughts on this and also why 'complex' is part of the narrative - is it historical in it's origin of the service, part of the funding criteria and/or how the service is actually seen ....if it is the latter then I very much believe that stigmatises those here that do not feel what they are dealing with is complex. It is hard enough for many of us to talk openly about our mental illness(es) but to also have that perception that ALL mental illness is complex more often than not immediately puts people on the back foot and that can be a deterrent for many.

Re: Q&A: Ask your questions about SANE's growing Service Model

Hi @Zoe7 and thank you for the time and thought you have put into writing this feedback. I am hearing that the word complex doesn't always feel like it's a word that you would use to describe your mental health journey, and that at times it might even feel like it adds to stigma. I really appreciate you letting us know how this word can impact people accessing SANE's services- we want this to be an inclusive space. Language can be really broad and for mental health is constantly evolving and I hear that the meaning of this word doesn't sit right for you- I will pass this feedback onto the team too. 


The word complex has been used at SANE to advocate for what we know is a significant gap in the current mental health system. While stigma has reduced significantly over the last decade for some mental health diagnoses in particular, our stigma report card also revealed that many with other mental health diagnoses are still heavily stigmatised, and people living with ongoing impacts of mental health, were continuing to see high levels of discrimination and exclusion in many areas of life. Our focus has been supporting and amplifying the voices of those who have experienced the biggest barriers to inclusion since our inception, and we aim to continue to support those living with mental health concerns who experience stigma, discrimination or exclusion. 


Language is so personal, and I am really sorry to hear the impact the word complex has for you Zoe. I will absolutely pass this feedback on to the SANE team- you mentioned "have that perception that ALL mental illness is complex" and this is an important statement. I will raise this with my Directors today 

Re: Q&A: Ask your questions about SANE's growing Service Model

Thank you for your considered response @Daisydreamer and providing that context in regard to how/why SANE advocates for those with a mental illness.


I appreciate the complexity of MI for many and wholly agree that advocating on behalf of those most marginalised is not only necessary but vital. I also recognise that the work SANE do in this area is both valued and essential. I think what the organisation started out as has significantly grown over the years and the forums in particular now have a large and diverse membership. Part of that therefore may be the way that the organisation brands itself needed to be more inclusive of ALL members as well as those they advocate for. For me, anyone with a MI is both accepted and supported by the organisation no matter their diagnosis or the 'complexities' of their MI. I do absolutely think that the word 'complex' needs to be dropped from that branding as it does allude to ALL people with a MI being put in a basket which says that ALL MI is complex. I know traditionally, historically and in many spheres this has been the common preconception but I also believe that in order to continue to reduce the stigma attached with MI we need to (as a collective) hold conversations about MI as an everyday occurrence, just as we would do with any physical illness. We would not talk about a broken leg as complex unless it was the case that more than one bone was broken etc. In much the same way, we should not have an over-riding statement that ALL MI is complex. Maybe part of reducing that stigma attached to MI is starting from such an organisation such as ours here in reducing the language used to it's simplest and most inclusive form ie. People living with Mental Health issues is much more inclusive than having 'complex' as part of the narrative.

Re: Q&A: Ask your questions about SANE's growing Service Model

Thanks for so eloquently addressing this issue @Zoe7 .  I must say that I wholeheartedly agree with everything you have said here.  There have been many times over the years that I have been a member, and prior to joining as a member, that I have wondered if I qualified to even be here.  What qualifies as 'complex'?  I still don't know.  I have C-PTSD ... does that qualify me to be a member of Sane?  And if not, why not?  And where else should I go, if I don't qualify to be here? I am pretty certain that many other members with depression and anxiety are equally as confused.


Like @Zoe7 , I really find the use of the term 'complex' to be confusing as well as very alienating. How bad do we have to be to qualify as a member?  We do not always identify our own MH issues to be 'complex' despite what they technically may be.  So I think @Daisydreamer  you may potentially be losing members by continuing to push the "complex" theme.  Just my thoughts.



Re: Q&A: Ask your questions about SANE's growing Service Model

Hi @Zoe7 , @Emelia8 , @Daisydreamer ,

I haven’t been on the forums for a while but ended up on this page 🤷‍♀️ somehow. I wanted to add my 5 cents in.


Sane was originally the “Schizophrenia Australia Foundation”. Here is one link to remembering Anne Deveson who was one of the founders. 


Many years ago as SANE was beginning to expand there was a discussion about what adjective would be used to describe the service. I remember there was chronic mental illness, complex mental illness and ?one other. Complex was chosen. 

At the time Sane was looking for a way to differentiate its service from the others like Beyond Blue, and potentially looking at funding because of the different service too (I might be making that up as I can’t really remember that part well). Thus Sane became a site that focussed on encouraging members with more complex mental illness than what associations like Black dog and Beyond blue. I guess at its core its main aim was catering for people with complex mental illnesses like schizophrenia. 

On a personal level I like the differentiation as a landing spot for when you don’t feel like the other sites will cater for your needs. I believe SANE’s diversity of MI shows the complexity of MI. I can see that it might feel like another label that heightens your feelings about it and you may feel adds to stigma. I also think that the broken leg analogy was good but more to support the view that a broken leg can be complex or not. If it is complex it’s better to have a team that can treat that complexity to mend it better, if it’s a simple break then you have a really great supportive team to mend it. 

Lastly I wouldn’t have landed at SANE when I did if they appeared to be the same as more mainstream organisations at the time. I think that as this type of support has grown over the years most people look around to see what service suits them best. I would imagine anyone looking for support who reads any posts on the SANE forum (especially from members like you @Zoe7 , @Emelia8 ) could feel the inclusion of all regardless of their MI.


This are all just my opinions and random thoughts, and I probably land on the right side for some and the wrong side for others. 

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