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Finding North

Finding North

New mental heath network locals can use

A huge 3.8 million Australians now live with a mental illness – including 800,000 people who live with a serious mental health condition. The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia (MIFA) highlights 300,000 people now experience severe mental illness with additional complexities that severely affect the quality of their lives. Latest data shows 62% of all GP presentations are now for mental health issues.

The not-for-profit Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia is highlighting nearly half of all Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia has announced today (Wednesday October 6th, 2021) it is establishing a vital new much needed network which will directly support people in the Western Region of Victoria who have mental health issues. It is a safe and secure platform. An APP will be released soon. It enables people with mental health issues to connect no matter where they are. The Network is free to join.

MIFA highlights the new project is a positive step forward for many regional Australians with mental health issues who want to be more connected with other people facing similar issues. MIFA points out that in regional areas specialised mental health support is often not readily available.

MIFA points out current restrictions on cross-border movements are unquestionably isolating families from each other in some regional areas … which, in turn, is creating distress and isolation. It says working from home has, in a number of cases, created a feeling of isolation and disconnection with work colleagues.

The unique new network – put simply – is aimed squarely at people who have lived with a mental health condition. One of its aims is to help them share their important stories with others facing similar issues.

MIFA CEO, Tony Stevenson, says it will all be done in a highly confidential and private manner.

MIFA says there are numerous reasons why people with a mental health issue should join the new network which is called “Finding North”.

MIFA highlights the network will connect people on a local and a national level; help them work their way through issues around stigma and the network is, of course, a place where people can be themselves and help others.

MIFA CEO Tony Stevenson said, “This project will break down barriers, like distance, by allowing people to connect whenever they wish. What I love about the initiative is it promotes social connectedness, which for people with a mental health issue, is just critical.”

Tony points out the Finding North project will show people how to use their influence to create positive change.

Tony Stevenson added, “This is very much about bringing many voices together to support each other. It is about actually strengthening those voices.”

Through the project people can:

  • Connect with others around Australia.
  • Post information in the live chat section.
  • Join numerous group discussions on different mental health topics.
  • Take part in special events held on the Network … such as guest speakers or training.

Joining up could not be easier. Simply go to Then simply click on ‘Join Finding North’ and fill in some basic detail and submit. Once your application is approved, you immediately get an email inviting you to join the Network. It really is that simple.

Tony Stevenson said, “Many people with mental health conditions have periods where they feel very isolated and very alone. This Network provides a safe space for people to read and hear inspiring stories of recovery. It is about strong connection and belonging. There is very real power in every individual’s experience.”

“Obviously, there are opportunities for people to help others by sharing experience or giving feedback. This may involve talking to a friend who is going through something or providing formal feedback to a mental health service about how things could be improved.”

“Clearly learning to share your story is far from easy. It can be a very scary thing. The reality is it is a very powerful thing to do. It helps others share their stories too. It can change people’s perspective on what it actually means to live with a mental health condition. It breaks down the many myths and stereotypes.”

The Finding North Network is not public. It can only be viewed by anyone who is a member of the actual Network. It has been specifically designed to allow for very limited personal details for those wanting to maintain anonymity. If people want to maintain full privacy, you can select ‘Hide Your Profile’ from the main directory … which, simply puts, only the Admins of the initiative can see your profile.

Members can maintain their anonymity as much as they like. Other Network members can only see the first name and the initial of the last name of the other person … plus their town or city (for time zone purposes).

Tony Stevenson added, “We have specifically developed this important project to connect passionate people and ideas together. It is about learning from each other.”

“What this is all about is influencing other people and it is spearheaded by people who have lived experience of a mental health condition. We have a very long history of providing free services to the community.”

“This important project has been designed very much in partnership with people who have experience of mental health issues. They told us they wanted something that was hopeful, uplifting and progressive. They highlighted that everybody’s experience is unique. So many people have been on very big journeys.”

MIFA plans to hold free e-symposiums in the next 18 months. It will provide an opportunity for members to showcase their remarkable work to others. MIFA wants members of the public, mental health service providers, professionals and government to be part of this process so they can hear directly from people what their aspirations are for the future of Australia’s mental health system.

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The APP is under development and will be launched in the not-too-distant future.

Tony Stevenson added, “We want to highlight, in the first instance, always talk to your GP. They will help you get connected to clinical support if you need it.”

“We are simply not doing enough to tackle the issue of mental health. The system is clearly fragmented and dysfunctional. There are significant gaps in the system. It is very difficult for people to know exactly where to go to get the right help for their mental health needs.”

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