• Sarah Murdock, Acting Executive Officer

The burden of mental illness

Last week, St John’s Care was contacted by the Department of Foreign Affairs with a complex situation. One of our clients, who we will call Simone, purchased a one-way ticket to Europe.

Simone is in her thirties and suffers from mental illness. While on the plane she realised that she had made a terrible mistake and was in a vulnerable position.

When she landed in Paris she faced minus 17 degree temperatures without appropriate clothing. She had no support networks and was in a country where she didn’t speak the language. One can only imagine how isolated she felt.

Simone was admitted to a psychiatric facility. This would be overwhelming for anyone, but in this situation, it would be horrendous. With her approval we were able to provide information regarding her health, mental wellbeing and financial circumstances to DFAT.

Simone is still overseas as it is a long process to get her home. We’re continuing to update and provide emotional support to her mother and do what we can to assist DFAT.

The complexities and challenges people face while suffering from mental illness can be debilitating. Even though we are unable to fix Simone’s situation, we can provide small amounts of support to make life a little easier for herself and her mother. Simone often comments that she considers SJC a safe place and has done so for many years.

Even though we are not half way through the month, SJC has supported and assisted approximately 130 people with food, finance, information and moral support.

Thanks to recent publicity from ABC Radio Canberra we have received a number of financial and food donations from the Canberra Community. We would like to thank everyone for their generosity.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended, donated items and supported our Sri Lankan Dinner. We are pleased to report that we raised around $2,300.00 which will go towards assisting people who are doing it tough in our community.

Wish list: One litre full cream long life milk, peanut butter, breakfast cereals, Vegemite and soap.

Sarah Murdoch

A/Executive Officer

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