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Skylight Blog

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Building on the MIFSA legacy

We are thrilled to announce an exciting new chapter in the history of the Mental Illness Fellowship of South Australia. Welcome to Skylight Mental Health, the new name for MIFSA.At Skylight it is participants and staff who work together to bring warmth, hope and light. We honour the courage to face the darkness and challenges wh...
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A new name for a new era

For over three decades, MIFSA has proudly provided services and support for people with mental illness, their families and friends. Our rich history includes the merger of two organisations and name changes that include the Schizophrenia Fellowship of South Australia, Self-Help (MDP), Mood Disorders Association and for the past 15 years the Mental ...
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VOLUNTEERS HELP US ALL TO GROW!

It is said that the more we give, the happier we feel. This comment is perfectly suited to Sally.Sally offered MIFSA her time and talents as a Fund Development Team member. Sally gained valuable experience and confidence in her volunteer role at MIFSA which lead to paid employment with a not-for-profit organisation interstate. Congratulations Sally...
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MIFSA LIFE MEMBER 2016

A surprised and delighted Maureen Lewis humbly accepted MIFSA Life Membership at this year's Annual General Meeting.Maureen has much experience with mental illness, and was living in Mount Gambier when her son was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the early 1990's. Frustrated by the lack of official public services and support, Maureen e...
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Volunteer for MIFSA

Volunteer Profile - Johno Jaensch "Volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and assists with my healing"With the contribution of dedicated volunteers, MIFSA is able to deliver and expand our full range of services while offering rewarding volunteering experiences in a safe and supportive environment. Johno Jaensch who volunteers his ti...
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Donate Today

​ We would like to share stories of discovery and growth from participants who enjoyed their camp experience, while increasing their confidence, capacity and self-esteem. "I was very excited to be able to go on this camp. I am 27 years old and have never been allowed to go on camp before, even when I was at school... It was great being able to...
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Bazinga Burlesque!

​Sadly, there are many people suffering with mental illness, who have little or no support. On Saturday 16 July at the Goodwood Institute, burlesque artists vied to represent South Australia in Miss Burlesque Australia. The competition allows performers to develop a brand and promote themselves at the same time as competing with their Australi...
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PEOPLE LIKE US ~ DARREN HUNT

I've lost a hold on reality, perhaps, a dozen times. While I've never been a danger to others, I have put my own life at risk. My scariest psychosis was when I was delusional and asked a friend to beat me up. That was the point my life began to unravel.My friend took me to the Emergency Department where security guards and nurses tackled me to the ...
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MIFSA Member Profile

After experiencing life on the streets, being involved with alcohol and drugs and living with schizophrenia, Kevin was referred to Glenside in 1985. This was a pivotal period in Kevin's life, which lead him to the discovery of the Schizophrenia Fellowship. Kevin has remained a member, and been volunteering at MIFSA ever since. Through Kevin's ...
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Wheels to Wellbeing

Ryan Rebbeck of Channel 7's House Rules has kindly endorsed our campaign as an ambassador to encourage schools to promote positive mental health through the Wheels to Wellbeing Campaign. "I would like you to consider helping those around you who like me (for a time) are hiding their issues." I am delighted to have the opportunity to encourage ...
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Reconciliation Week 2016 - Debbie's Story

Mannum MIFSA Activities Program visited Greenways landing for Reconciliation Week, a very special place for Debbie. I moved to Mannum in 1968My father was born under the willow tree on the other side of the river to Greenway Landing, Nildottie. The family lived in a house with bag floors, however life was good and I would love to live that lif...
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Refugee Week 2016

Refugee Week runs from 19 - 25 June 2016The theme for Refugee Week for 2015 to 2017 will be "With courage let us all combine". Taken from the second verse of the national anthem.It celebrates the courage of all refugees and of people who speak out against persecution and injustice. Other themes hold strong the theme of "Welcome". These themes ...
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International Volunteers Day 5 December 2015

International Volunteer Day is celebrated worldwide each year on 5 December to pay special tribute to the thousands of volunteers making a difference locally, nationally and globally.This year, 99 MIFSA Volunteers continued the spirit and culture of our founding members, contributing over 9,000 hours supporting and enhancing a range of services: Ac...
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Domestic Violence and Anxiety - My Personal Journey

I was in a domestic violence relationship for 7 years - This is how that affected my mental health whilst with him and after himI met my ex husband when I was seventeen years old. At the time I had just recovered from a serious episode of depression, which had seen me engaging with self harming, thinking seriously about suicide and only starting to...
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Congratulations MIFSA Mount Gambier!

The 2015 South Australian Regional Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals, groups and business that have made a significant contribution to the Limestone Coast Region. Out of 226 nominations across the region, MIFSA Mount Gambier made it through as one of 42 finalists!At the award ceremony held in Naracoorte last night, the ...
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It's Carers Week!

National Carers Week provides an opportunity for us to learn about the diversity of carers and their caring role. There are 2.7 million Australians who provide unpaid care to someone with a mental illness, disability, chronic condition, terminal illness or the elderly. A carer makes an enormous contribution to our community and often requires ...
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Mental Health Week 2015

A successful mental health week is over for another year. It is wonderful that mental health is now openly discussed. It is a start to taking the apprehension away. However we need to ensure the discussion continues.The Youth Mental Health Report – released by Beyond Blue – found that:* One in four young Australians are likely to be experiencing me...
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Schizophrenia: Don’t be left in the dark

The results of a survey commissioned by Janssen-Cilag Pty Limited in partnership with the Mental Illness Fellowship Australia (MIFA) ahead of the 2015 Schizophrenia Awareness Week showed some disturbing responses and poor understanding of mental illness, in particular schizophrenia.

The survey involving 1,000 Australians, including 54 cares, revealed four in 10 Australians (43.6%)1 admit they have no or limited understanding of what schizophrenia is despite almost one in four (23.2%)1 knowing someone with the illness.

More alarming is that half of Australians (54.5%)1 admit there is a greater stigma around schizophrenia than other mental illnesses in society with over three quarters (84%)1 revealing they would not tell an employer about their schizophrenia diagnosis – with half admitting this would be out of fear of being judged or missing out on job opportunities.1

Research released in May also found that one in four (26.2%)1 Australian families caring for a loved one with schizophrenia do not talk to family and friends about the care they provide, highlighting the isolation and challenges of caring for someone with schizophrenia. So too are lost friendships, relationship break down and issues with family due to their caring role.

“Shining a spotlight on Carers” was a unique awareness-raising activity in the week leading up to Schizophrenia Awareness Week 2015 which drew interest from the community as well as media attention.  The ‘Don’t Be Left In The Dark’ campaign involved placing a large perspex box in two public settings in the Sydney CBD.  In the box was a person representing a carer searching for information on Schizophrenia.  Despite the wintery weather, people were drawn to the installation, peering into the little side holes and generally observing the person inside.  The installation was a powerful representation of how it feels to be a carer of someone living with Schizophrenia and the stigma placed on them as a carer.  To read the story and view the installation visit www.fullstoryschizophrenia.com.au.

 

Schizophrenia affects 1 in 100 people. This means that there are up to 200,000 Australians with schizophrenia; these are real people with real lives and real families. Schizophrenia is an illness like any other illness, instead of affecting the liver or heart it affects the brain. With the right support recovery is very possible for people living with schizophrenia.

References

1. Survey commissioned by Janssen in partnership with the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW, conducted by Pure Profile in April 2015. 

 

 

 

 

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MIFSA Goes Purple

Friday the 28th of August is that one day of the year when MIFSA staff, participants and supporters alike are encouraged and can choose to dress in purple to show their support for young lesbian, gay,  bisexual, trans, intersex or queer people.  The Wear it Purple day encourages the whole community to wear purple and in doing so celebrate our young and diverse LGBTIQ community in a colorful and fun way.

MIFSA staff know that LGBTIQ youth are still some of the most vulnerable people in society, with 43%  experiencing  discrimination, including verbal abuse and violence.  Research informs us that the most common age for first engaging in self harm, including attempting to take their own life happens at 16, just before "coming out".   Wearing purple wont change the statistics, but it sends a message, that we accept and support  you regardless of difference.   

If you know a young LGBTIQ person that is struggling contact our Queer Connections team or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 1800 985 944. Perhaps you'd also like read about Families Like Mine from Beyond Blue.

 

Heath Reed

LGBTIQ Project

Queer Connections 

 

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Joy for Music

MIFSA’s Activity Programs support people living with mental illness to engage in activities to develop self confidence, learn new skills, make friends and have fun. In this article Dana shares his experience attending MIFSA’s music programs and the important role it has played in his journey to recovery.

Joy for Music

I have been coming along to MIFSA for a while now. Having attended both the Activity Program and Respite House Music Programs. These have been great and the staff do a great job, particularly Suzi at Respite House. Music was something that I loved to do before I got unwell. Through being unwell I lost about ten years of writing and playing music. The first time I played again was with the Wayville Activity Program.

At the beginning I was recommended to the Wayville bowling group by a friend of mine. I visited a couple of other places and the Wayville program was the one that I liked. The centre definitely felt like a nice place to walk into. I was real keen to bowl and to do so I needed to be here on a Thursday to get my name down on the booking sheet. Visiting the centre on a Thursday meant I got to see the music band practicing (and I thought wow that's great, I could do that).

I think I came in the following week with my own guitar. It was a low stress situation, where I could afford to make a few mistakes (I still do). Over time I got to know others in the group and the guys that run it - who do a fantastic job. Coming and playing rekindled my motivation to practice, run a few scales and recall past pieces I previously enjoyed. Music is important to me as it was always a big part of my identity. Even my friends have said that I am much better in myself since I have been playing music again. The structure of the group helped make it possible. Sometimes when I think about the time I spent not playing, it as though I've got back something that I thought I had lost. It wasn't just the music, it was the people doing it with me. 

It's definitely more than just the music, it's also about a sense of purpose - if I have a good day I really feel it. I have regularly played the improvisation parts, I get to enjoy them when it flows, and I don't have to worry too much if it doesn't come, because I can play terribly, then shrug my shoulders and it is forgotten. If I play well someone will come up and say, ‘that was great’ and it feels good. Not only have my friends seen a change in me, but my family also has seen that I am doing things like practicing and playing in a way that has purpose. Music is important in my family and having this in my life again has helped things in these relationships too.

I have been thrilled with the Respite House music program. You turn up the first day and set up, play for four days, and on the final day you pack up. Through the four days you get know the style and approach of others, and it is great to play with the group as it develops. This group has seen me play with musicians and styles of music that I would probably never have played with otherwise. Seeing others play (sometimes for the first time with a band) is also awesome. It is great to see others on their own musical journey. Last time I was at Respite House I shared a song I wrote fifteen years ago, and on this occasion I was able to play it for the first time with a band. The Respite staff are fantastic, they really listen, they love music themselves and are really easy to relate to. Having staff that have a passion for music, and that understand recovery makes the whole thing come together in way that is really special.

Regularly getting together at a set time in the week gives you something to look forward to, takes the stress of getting it organised and makes for some really great times. The only thing I would change is to attend the Respite Music Program more often.

 

Dana

 

 

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Email:   skylight@skylight.org.au 

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"Life has changed from feeling hopeless, overwhelmed and not being able to get off the couch, to hopeful, engaged and looking forward to the future." 


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