Some of the counselling services include:
- Lifestyle Counselling
- Anger Management
- Relapse Prevention
- Relationship Counselling
- Addiction Counselling
- Work related Counselling
- Emergency services Support
- Suicide prevention
Mental health information
Mental illness can strike anyone. One in five Australians will experience a mental illness, the most common being depression.
Some people experience mental illness only once, and go on to fully recover.
Unfortunately, only half of the people with mental illness actually receive treatment, because people are either too ashamed to go to the doctor, or they don't know where to turn. So they suffer in silence, some for years perhaps unaware there is appropriate treatment available. Such silent suffering can lead to problems in other areas of life.
The message of this year's Mental Health Week is Mental Health: What do you know?
The aim of Mental Health Week is to educate the community, to break down and explain some of the myths and stigmas attached to mental illness, and to promote greater community awareness, understanding and empathy.
The Salvation Army works with people suffering mental illness on a daily basis. We know how hard it is for a person who is ill, and we also know how difficult it can be for family and friends.
The Salvation Army believes that with better education, the load carried by those affected can be a little lighter. Mental illness isn't something to be ashamed of, its an illness that in most cases can be treated and managed, just like heart disease.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illness can be mild, severe, temporary or prolonged. Exact causes are unknown, but many are caused by changes in the brain. Its not known what triggers these
The most common forms of mental illness are depression and anxiety disorders - these are also termed "High Prevalence". Depression is considered 'high prevalence' as it affects 16% of adults at some point in their life. Anxiety disorders are a little less common hitting 10% of adults at some point in life. These illnesses are "non-psychotic".
Eating disorders, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders etc usually fall into these categories. When feelings of depression, sadness, tension or fear reach the point where they're affecting the ability to cope with everyday activities then this can be a sign of mental illness. And effective treatments are available
The less common ("low prevalence") illnesses are those that are psychotic, for example schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These illnesses cause changes in the brain, in the way people think and their emotions. These changes may cause someone to develop delusions and loose contact with reality. These illnesses often come in "episodes", some people can experience an episode or two and never experience symptoms again, however in a smaller percentage of sufferers symptoms are more persistent and reoccurring and they respond less to treatments. These people need great support.
It is important to note, that with treatment and support, the majority of people with mental illness recover well. However it is vital through education and communication that understanding of such illnesses improves. Up to 6% of people affected by mental illness commit suicide, this is far higher than the rate amongst the greater population. This is something that we hope can be reduced with better access to treatment, and greater community understanding of the illness.
Mental illness is an illness no different to other diseases. The sooner someone seeks appropriate care, the better the outcome will be. If you think someone close to you may be suffering from a mental illness encourage the person to seek help. Reacting with compassion, understanding and support can be key to the person's path to recovery. If you think you may have an illness, don't ignore the signs and visit your GP or community health centre for advice and help.
KMHS - Kardinia Mental Health Services
KMHS is one of a range of services offered by The Salvation Army Kardinia Network to people living in the Geelong / Barwon Region in Victoria.
KMHS is a non-clinical, psychiatric disability and rehabilitation support service. The program works with people who have a mental illness, which is complicated by social isolation and quality of life issues. We aim to enable people to connect with and to play an active role within the community of their choice.
KMHS works alongside people to:
- Create the potential for each individual to live a fulfilling and satisfying life
- Improve or maintain wellbeing
- Take maximum advantage of a wide range of opportunities
- Connect with people or groups of their choosing
Mental illness is the prevailing illness across all sectors of welfare. It affects people in many different ways from less occurring issues such as schizophrenia to the more common depression. People suffering a mental illness can be marginalised and find themselves isolating themselves, struggling with work and other basic life functions and can become caught in the welfare cycle.
The people The Salvation Army sees with mental illness are usually distinctly disadvantaged. However programs such as KMHS in Geelong can assist people before they become caught-up in welfare or too disadvantaged.
Faith Communities and Mental Illness Fellowship
KMHS in a joint initiative with the Mental Illness Fellowship, have developed a unique program for churches called the Faith Communities and Mental Illness Project. It involves a series of intensive workshops aimed at Pastors and church representatives which were then followed up with a series of seminars conducted at local churches for church leadership and pastoral care teams. The aim was to provide pastors, ministers and church members with al little bit of information on mental illness. The project is aimed at helping address preconceived ideas about people with mental illness - such as that they can be dangerous - as well as creating awareness of the different ways people with mental illness can behave. The project also aimed to address the perception by some church members that mental illness was a weakness within a person - or even a sin.
This program is an acknowledgement that when people become depressed or ill in some way, they often look to their religion for peace, comfort and support. This program is an acknowledgement of this, and recognises that due to this natural occurrence, it is important that Churches and spiritual leaders understand mental illness and know how to assist a person in finding the right support.
Mental health is in many ways the last taboo in society. Mental health issues, depression and less common ailments such as paranoia are still not openly discussed due to stigmas attached. Breaking down this taboo is important, as it will remove many fears making people more willing to seek help for their problems. More open discussion will also allow people to discover and learn that mental illness is treatable, and people with illnesses can participate in the community in an active and healthy way.
The Salvation Army has become involved in an organisation called Reclink, which aims to provide fun, healthy, and pro-social activities promotion participation, skill improvement and satisfaction. Eastcare, Brunswick, Kardinia and Flagstaff are all involved in football teams. For many people with mental illness (and other issues) this association has been marvellous, encouraging socialising, promoting health and for some, it has turned their lives around.
Reclink has shown how important building community and fostering a sense of involvement and purpose is to people's well being and mental health. There have been some remarkable stories of achievement through Reclink. One member of the Kardinia Cats said of his involvement "Its amazing how well everyone gets on. We all have our differences. We don't look at any one person any worse than the other. People here all accept people for who they are". Another player said, "Some of the best times are with the training. That's when the team gets on the best. Especially where we wind up training with a practice match, with half the team plying against the other half. There is a lot of friendly banter. That's a bit like the Salvo's at Christmas get-togethers where people enjoy each others company."
There are many other stories like this for the teams involved in Reclink and many lives have been turned around. The sense of purpose and achievement gained is enough in many cases to set someone on a new and more fulfilling path in life.