Mi Networks Launch

Launch of Mi Networks

Under the new “Mi Networks” initiative, 80 locations will immediately be launched  with another 40 to follow. The Mi Networks logo and the service promise that goes with it will be a guarantee of genuine support, accurate information and assisted referral to the best local services available.

Media enquiries to: Ross Woodward or Homira Samadi on 03 9769 6488
Rob Ramjan, CEO Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW, is available for media interviews.

Mi Networks NSW Media Release 10th October 2012

Summary

Up to 100,000 people across Australia - including thousands of people in New South Wales - affected by serious mental illness are missing out on essential services.

The warning has come from the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA).  Executive Director David Meldrum says people with mental illness have now become some of the most economically and socially marginalised people in Australia. 

MIFA highlights people with serious mental health issues now live up to 25 years less than the average life expectancy. Rob Ramjan – Chief Executive of the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW - says part of the reason 100,000 people are missing out is that they can’t find available services when they need them.

To try to make mental health services easier to find when people in New South Wales need them most, the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia – with other organisations – has launched an initiative to give people around the nation easier access to services and local support networks available to help people.

Under the new “Mi Networks” initiative, 80 locations will immediately be launched (Wednesday October 10th) with another 40 to follow.

Of the more than 600,000 Australians with serious mental illnesses, the best available evidence suggests less than 50% are receiving treatment. There is no doubt part of the problem is not being able to find services when they are needed.

The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia is urging other not-for-profits to join the network. SANE Australia and Aftercare are already involved. David Meldrum says the initiative cannot be a “panacea” to the problem but it’s a very important start.

Full NSW Media Release

Up to 100,000 people – including thousands of people in New South Wales - affected by serious mental illness are missing out on essential mental health services warns the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA). 

To combat the issue, a new network - to give people in New South Wales and across Australia more information about mental health services and local organisations that can help people - is being launched called “Mi Networks”.

It already has support from SANE Australia and Aftercare.

MIFA has over 15,000 members, and its long-standing, respected member organisations are assisting thousands of people with serious mental illness every day.

Rob Ramjan - CEO Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSWRob Ramjan - Chief Executive of the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW - says there is a lot of confusion in the community about mental health services which needs to be tackled head on.

He says the problem is getting bigger. Rob Ramjan warns it is now estimated less than 50% of people with serious mental health issues are receiving treatment. He says it does not have to be this way and says the new network is a step in the right direction.

Rob Ramjan said, “We are talking about big issues. Schizophrenia, major depression, Bi Polar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders. People with serious mental illness face many barriers. For instance, they often cannot afford secure housing because of housing affordability and a limited rental market.”

MIFA warns that a more effective ‘front door’ for consumers and carers is not a solution to gaps in much-needed services. Fundamental reforms and increased investment is badly needed across all sectors of mental health to better meet the needs of Australians with serious mental illness. It highlights as one example how people with  serious mental illness now experience much higher rates of unemployment – up to 80% - than any other group in Australia.

It is estimated the productivity losses linked to joblessness amongst people with a mental illness has now reached at least $10 billion annually. The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia says most people with mental illness want to work but are frequently unable to get or keep competitive employment.

Initially “Mi Networks” will operate out of 80 locations across Australia and is a nationwide help service for anyone wanting more information about mental health issues and services to support them. 40 more locations, operated by Aftercare, will join the network soon. Anyone wanting information should simply visit MiNetworks.org.au or call 1800 985 944.

MIFA says the Mi Networks logo and the service promise that goes with it will be a guarantee of genuine support, accurate information and assisted referral to the best local services available.

David Meldrum – the Executive Director of the Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia - says people with mental illness have now unquestionably become some of the most economically and socially marginalised people in society. He points out physical health is a huge issue. Latest estimates suggest people with serious mental health issues live – on average – up to 25 years less than the average life expectancy.

MIFA says the Mi Networks initiative is a “front door” to mental health services designed to give people relevant information and referrals. David Meldrum says it is about treating people as an individual not a number. MIFA highlights most people with serious mental illness can recover successfully and lead fulfilling lives with the right treatment and personal support. 

David Meldrum said, “People often don’t know where to start or where to go, particularly when they are in crisis. When people with serious mental illness or their carers don’t get the help they need, there can be a great deal of unnecessary distress, sometimes with serious long-term consequences. All too often the system isn’t working which creates a huge ripple effect of distress.” 

“The families and carers associated with the 100,000 people who are missing out on essential services, represents a huge proportion of the Australian community, who are also deeply affected. In some cases people are spending years trying to find help.  That is obviously totally unacceptable.”

“Mi Networks is a positive move forward.  It’s about trying to find the best fit for people.  It’s about listening and working out what people need.  It will link people to the best programs and services in mental health wherever possible.  .  We don’t believe this is an instant panacea to the problem.  It can’t be.  What it is is a very important step forward.” 

 “We are thrilled that Aftercare has joined Mi Networks and it will help add 40 more locations to this Network soon.  Our partnership with SANE Australia enables us to guarantee access to consistent, high-quality information across Australia.  We urge other organisations to join the Network.  This is all about a mission to help people.  In the end it’s all about helping people … that’s the important thing.”

“Because many of our volunteers and staff have actually dealt with mental illness, they do have some understanding of what people are going through.”

“When people contact Mi Networks, we will do everything we can to help them.  If we don’t have the information you need, we will seek to find it.  We certainly want to break down the confusion around mental illness.  We know that GPs do a fantastic job.  We also know many GPs may not always be making the most informed referrals because good information isn’t readily available.”

Rob Ramjan added, “People need quality information.  Some people don’t realise there are all kinds of warning signs that indicate someone may be developing mental illness.  That may be mood swings, irritability, depression or changes in sleeping and eating habits.  It’s critical to deal with issues as soon as possible.  We are highlighting that recovery of a better quality of life is possible for everyone affected by serious mental illness.

 “Mi Networks” is operating from today (Wednesday 10th October) and people can find out more by going to www.MiNetworks.org.au  or by calling 1800 985 944.

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www.minetworks.org.au

OUR PROMISE

A Place You Are Welcome

We promise to treat you like a person, not a number.  We will always have time to listen, question and discuss.  We want to know how you are, what you need and how we can help.

Peer Support

Many of our staff and volunteers have lived experience: either living with mental illness or as the carers of someone with mental illness.  We are people with similar experiences and we will have some understanding of what you are going through.

Relevant Information

We offer tailored and up-to-date information to assist you, your family members, friends and carers.  If we don’t have the information you require, we will help you find it.

Community Networks

We are linked into our local networks and have established strong and supportive working relationships with other services.  We are connected to a broad range of programs, supports and information.

A National Network

We offer a range of one-on-one and group support programs for you, your family members, friends and carers across Australia.  If we can’t assist you on-site at one of our locations, we will connect you with someone who can.

Personalised Referral

We will refer you to the services and supports that best meet your needs.   This may be a program we offer or it may be provided by someone else.  We will support you to find the best fit for you.