Sabina had been struggling with her mental health for a while – but it was an incident at work that triggered her ‘breakdown’ and sent her in to a deep depression. Unable to return to work, Sabina was placed on sick leave.
Living alone and struggling to get out of bed in the morning, Sabina’s depression worsened along with her social isolation.
Worried friends tried to help but were regularly turned away and phone calls went unanswered.
Unable to cope any longer, Sabina visited her local GP in great distress. It was her GP that suggested she set up a Gather Group account. Initially reluctant and embarrassed to ask for help, Sabina agreed to giving the technology a trial – as long as she did not have to actually talk to anyone to ask them for help.
Supported by the practice nurse at the GP clinic, Sabina was encouraged to set up the app and roster in some social support and connection from her friends. She was able to provide everyone with an update about what was happening for her and post it in the chat function (so she didn’t have to talk to each person one on one) and was able to send out digital invites from her contact list.
The practice nurse encouraged Sabina to add in a social task each day for the next four weeks. These could be phone calls, social visits, gentle walks or even online games with friends. The focus was ensuring that Sabina was connecting with others – and that through this connection she was receiving social support and care.
Sabina’s older sister joined the personal care network as an ‘admin’. This enabled her to add additional tasks as needed, help keep the care network going, provide updates, and take control of the account during the times when Sabina was unable to manage.
Sabina’s care network of friends, family, and work colleagues came together to provide regular social support and help around the home for the next couple of months. They rostered on transport to her psychologist and GP appointments – and even coordinated a working bee in Sabina’s garden so she could enjoy the Autumn sunshine.
The Gather Group app sent regular education to Sabina’s care network about caring for someone with mental illness and provided her friends and family with ‘helpful hints’ on things they could try in order to better support Sabina.
Sabina’s mental health improved over time and she was able to return to part-time work. Sabina would not have been able to coordinate this care network without the Gather Group app – and her network of friends and family would not have known how to work together to support Sabina without being part of the coordinated care network.
It can be hard to know how to help someone going through mental illness. You may find that they isolate themselves from others and avoiding social contact. The best thing you can do – aside from supporting them to get professional help – is to stay connected to them and encourage them to keep talking.
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