02 September, 2013


Dear Friends,

After several years posting on the Just Salvos blog spot, we are moving solely to our website,  www.justsalvos.com
We will continue to post articles on the website and encourage your feedback and engagement.

Many blessings, 

Just Salvos.

26 August, 2013

Being There

An oncoming Saturday, on 31 August, will be the annual international Overdose Awareness Day.

It’s a day often known and remarked on for its solemn but beautiful events. People talk about how we can act as communities to prevent overdoses. More tellingly, more painfully, it’s also a time when people grieve. When we as a society embrace individuals who publicly remember those who are gone because of overdoses of alcohol, illicit drugs and pharmaceuticals, and/or people who have been irrevocably damaged mentally and physically.
Alongside those brave enough to share their pain, we walk through stories. Memories. We meet loved ones who have left this life.
The international Overdose Awareness Day started in Melbourne back in 2001 when Sally Finn, then a manager of a Salvation Army needle and syringe program, was moved by the hurt all around here – the embattled survivors of overdoses, and the families of those people who didn’t.
She saw how ODs left us without a place or a time where we could grieve and mourn our loss; lost friends and relatives were seen (if they were acknowledged at all) as pariahs. In those not so long ago ‘bad old days’, those who had died from overdose were judged, stigmatised and dismissed as druggies; individuals whose demise was self-inflicted. 
An initial ‘event of remembrance’ was held, to commemorate those lost or damaged daughters and sons. Brothers and sisters. Partners and spouses. Mates and rellies. Sally was surprised to realise on that first OAD that she and her colleagues had given out 6,000 ribbons. The day grew. More lives were touched. More countries joined the event. More memories were shared.
In 2012 the organising of international Overdose Awareness Day was passed from Salvation Army Crisis Services to the non-profit Australian public health body Anex, which works to ‘increase understanding of – and improve responses to – the problems arising from the use of and alcohol and other drugs’.
As always OAD is a chance for families, friends, NGOS and churches, governments and health services, police and ambulance officers etc. to educate the general public about the nature and responses to overdoses. More deeply, more confrontingly, it is a time to ‘be there’ for people who weep at death and the price of overdoses.
You can help. You can hold an event, you can talk about drugs and overdoses to friends, children, colleagues. You can use Twitter and facebook, etc. to promote the day.
See: http://www.overdoseday.com/get-involved/
With this year’s OAD theme, ‘Right dose, wrong dose, overdose’, you can learn about ‘escalating dose rates and the possible consequences’, which applies ‘equally to people taking prescription medications or anyone using illicit drugs’. 
It’s a lonely life if nobody’s in your corner. If you care about the world you are living in, it’s a logical and helpful next step to care about your fellow human beings – more Australians now are dying of overdoses than are dying on our roads. Let's raise people's awareness of the dangers of overdoses, and let's note the passing of people who fought and fell against addictions, and those who accidentally left this life in an attempt to make the pain go away.
Click here for more information.
Click here for a brochure on overdose basics.

Click here to order badges.

16 August, 2013

Mental health, what price?

Peter Weymouth, Occupational Therapist, works in a community care unit attached to Mercy Hospitals’ mental health programme. 

Mental health clients attract a number of risks, and in this western part of Melbourne’s perimeter, it may not surprise you that a large part of Peter's time is spent in helping to source accommodation. The public housing waiting list for those who are homeless is anything from 2-4 years. 

The connection of homeless and mental health issues is clear. When there is unstable housing, problems emerge and become more difficult to solve.  Clients may be trapped further into a cycle of mental health risk factors. For example, if the only option is a rooming house and a person is vulnerable to drug and alcohol use, there is a strong chance that they will join others who use such places as a focal point for drug and alcohol use. Irregular routines, poor sleep, poor diet and inadequate social networking, reduced access to health services are all issues faced by people who are homeless, the same issues can perpetuate mental illness.

Stability of housing for clients is the key care need in the recovery for people faced with the challenges of severe psychiatric disability.  Stable accommodation can provide a foundation from which patterns of a healthy life can be developed and promote mental health.

Professor Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year, has done a lot to promote needs of youth in mental health care, but there is still a huge gap to overcome.  People are waiting in hospital departments for psychiatric beds, case managers are often stretched with large case loads, and GP’s are pushed to their limits in care for those who need extra services.

What can be done? 
Perhaps this Election period can cause us to reflect upon a more marginal issue, one that Australians do not readily ‘buy into’ and which is seen in how resources are allocated. Mental disorder is a leading cause of disease and injury burden in Australia. Funding directed towards mental health care does not reflect the demand.

There is a high likelihood that none of us are exempt from the challenges of mental illnesss. We have all been affected by mental illness in someway. Connected as community members, neighbours, friends and family, there may be much more we can all do. Care for yourself, a carer, a friend, use kind words, avoid discrimination,  get educated, grow in awareness of needs and also possibilities for help.  Let’s see what we can do over the election to agitate for change - writing an email to our local MP’s, asking about their policies on housing and funding for mental health services. 

06 August, 2013

A Movement of Hope.

To tell your story is to invite someone into your heart. It is sharing your pain, hurt and victories with another person. The knowledge that this vulnerability can help others inspired the Hope Movement team to name our first campaign ‘The Storytellers’. Yet it was only after we started this campaign and invited people to share their own journeys that we realised how important being a story teller is.

Hope Movement was formed as a result of the intertwining of stories. Each member of the team has encountered a time of desperation, whether this be through chronic illness, anxiety, depression, grief or an eating disorder. It is in these times that our Christian faith and the helping hand of a friend motivated us to seek help. With the support of these people and community services, each of us have been able to overcome our personal obstacles and see that our lives have purpose.

Through the sharing of our stories we have realised that we are not alone in our struggles. Each person we encounter is experiencing something, and many need encouragement just to last another day. It is because of this that Hope Movement was born. Hope Movement is an organisation focused on connecting 12 to 30 year-olds with credible local services in their community. Generation Y face a wide variety of issues and statistics have shown that this has resulted in mental illness and suicide becoming a leading cause of death. As an organisation, Hope Movement exists to point this generation to the fantastic help that is already available; we are a bridge if you like, between Gen Y and the help they need. 

Currently developing our website, Hope Movement aims to become a leading source of information for young people on the internet by providing them with an extensive range of services across Australia. In addition to this database, we also share the stories of everyday people to break the stigma that envelops issues like mental illness. By combining the art of storytelling with a list of the resources that are so desperately needed, Hope Movement desires to bring light to a generation we know to be lost and broken.
It is through the telling of our stories that the Hope Movement team, and our near 1,500 Facebook friends, aspire to show our generation that they are not alone, that tomorrow can be better, and that hope is here. We have quickly realised that Hope Movement is far greater than the stories of six friends; rather it is a movement of young people rising up and declaring that their generation is one worth fighting for.

 Hope Movement is an organisation representing a movement of people focused on sharing HOPE through an internet community offering encouragement, support, information, love and practical advice regarding life shaping issues for those aged 12-30years. The HM community networks with a community of support professionals for people to refer to. Hope Movement exists to provide resources for and to create awareness regarding the vast amount of issues generation y face daily including, but not limited to; depression, alcohol, drugs, anorexia, bullying, and mental health issues. Check out their website and facebook page! http://www.hopemovement.com.au, https://www.facebook.com/hopemovementau

30 July, 2013

National Missing Persons Week

An estimated 35 000 people are reported missing in Australia every year and individuals living with a mental illness are at higher risk of going missing (http://www.missingpersons.gov.au). 


Just Salvos believes in advocating for those affected by mental illness. Breaking down the stigma around mental health allows greater support systems and understanding. To read more about National Missing Persons Week, download this article (here) written by our amazing co-worker, Barry Gittins, published in the July 27th edition of the War Cry.