SANE Forums: A new on-line peer- to-peer support service for people living with mental illness and for carers.
Presented by Paul Morgan and Faruk Avdi.
You can read an abstract for this presentation here.
Imagine you are standing at a conference. Everyone around you seems to be talking with others, catching up with colleagues, smiling and laughing – but not with you.
Faruk Avdi used this analogy, which may be common to some of his audience, to describe the feeling of isolation that people with mental illness often experience.
One of the services available to combat this isolation is the SANE on-line forums. There is one forum for those with lived experience and different forum for carers.
SANE acknowledges that ‘information is power’ when considering how to deal with the symptoms of mental illness in everyday life. Their previous approach was to go to people with lived experiences and gather information to be processed and shared with others. The forum has provided an alternative approach, allowing people to speak directly with each other to create a deeper level of support.
The forums were designed with a user-centred design approach, getting input from people with lived experiences. They considered the forum in terms of looking at what people with mental health issues were currently experiencing and what other services they were accessing online.
This was complemented with a service design approach that considered the community and organisational context. In particular the service sustainability is largely achieved by using the forum as a tool added to the communities already formed. This has taken place by making the forum available from seven partner websites. These include the SANE website, the MIND Australia website, and the ARAFMI (NSW and WA) websites.
Faruk Avdi concluded the session by describing the benefit of the SANE forums as a means to an end: “Ordinary folk…that have ordinary lives can talk to each other … they suddenly have a community talking together in one place … that is the really exciting thing”.
You can access the SANE forums by clicking here.
Post by Naomi Chapman