The Connections Mental Health Innovations Program (Connections) is an Australian-first partnership that provides free social programs for locals around Broken Hill, in far west New South Wales. The program was created to tackle increased loneliness and isolation faced by people living with mental illness in communities.

Watch how you are transforming lives in Broken Hill.

9% of Australians feel lonely at any one time.1

Someone can look connected on the outside, but on the inside be lonely and isolated. 

Loneliness is related to mental health, affecting people’s day-to-day life and their overall wellbeing. Sadly, we found isolated people in Broken Hill would contact emergency services looking for someone to talk to. Many didn’t need acute care but simply wanted to be around other people. "That's a really sad thing, to think that when people are lonely, they're presenting to a hospital emergency room," Jenna, Connections Team Leader shared.

"I felt like I’ve had nothing, I’ve had no one"- Jason, Connections participant.

For 48-year-old Jason, a divorce a decade ago sent him into a mental and emotional breakdown. He moved to Broken Hill from Adelaide for a fresh start, but instead found himself completely alone - sometimes spending a whole week alone at home.

"When I was really lonely, I'd go to the hospital and I would, you know, stay there for 6 weeks," he says. He found hospital visits not only helped him manage his bipolar disorder, but also his own growing feelings of isolation.

Since joining Connections, Jason's been at the hospital less and is smiling more. "To me, these guys are family, and I love that about them,” shared Jason.

Thank you for building hope and community through Connections.

Since it opened in August 2017, the Connections program has helped over 180 people struggling with loneliness and mental health. The program has allowed many to feel part of a community and less alone.

 1Relationships Australia, (2014): Loneliness and social isolation. Accessible here: https://www.relationships.org.au/what-we-do/research/online-survey/october-2014-loneliness-and-social-isolation-results

 

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