Phone Connections Extending its Peer Support Service to People with Mental Illness & Deafness

CAN is very excited to be able to extend Phone Connections to people within the deaf community who also live with mental illness.

Online PR News – 21-August-2012 – 8/21/2012, Brookvale, NSW – Brookvale, NSW CAN (Mental Health) Inc. is very excited to announce that it's extending its national peer support service (Phone Connections) to include people living with the dual disability of mental illness and deafness, every Friday evening from 6pm - 11pm. To provide access to its peer support service the organisation now has:

- Skype Video Conferencing and

- Online Chat capabilities

This important service enables people to decrease social isolation and increase social connection by having a touch base chat about their day or week.

People with the dual disability of mental illness and deafness are some of the most isolated in our community. "To be able to provide peer support to our colleagues in the deaf community is not only exciting it is very sorely needed".

Phone Connections is not a crisis line, nor a clinical or counseling service. Peer support is based on equality, mutuality, hope and understanding and is a complimentary pathway to clinical services. Phone Connections has been operating for 5 years and is very highly regarded both by consumers who access the service and other providers. At this stage we can only offer this much needed service to people with the dual disability of mental illness and deafness one evening per week (Fridays).

Access to Phone Connections is FREE and the person can remain with the service for as long as they like. The peer support staff is very experienced and very highly trained. "To receive a touch base phone call can make all the difference to a person's day. It may be the only call the person receives for the week to let them know that someone cares about them", Ms Casey, Executive Officer said. "Even when not at home the fact the staff leaves a message lets the person know that someone is thinking about them".

Whilst providing this highly sought after peer support service to the deaf community is new, this exciting and innovative initiative taps into the technology that is available for the whole community. This population group has been largely ignored by the overall mental health community for far too long.

Skype video conferencing will be available where the peer support worker can make the conference call within a designated time frame, just like CAN's other Phone Connections staff who ring people via phone. All the person has to do is request a Skype video conference call during the Friday evenings of operation. This can be undertaken by:

- Registering online

- Sending an email

- Requesting a friend or relative to ring on 02 9114 8150 (Sydney metropolitan) or 1300 135 846 (Intra and Interstate) callers and leave a message; or

- Touching base via the Online Chat

For more information go to the CAN website or email