As part of the Australian Government’s mental health response to COVID-19, Independent Community Living Australia has launched its new eFriend service for all Australians aged 18 and over. eFriend is a free, virtual peer support service that provides Australians with non-clinical, peer-based mental health support. eFriend connects people to a consistent, trained peer support worker via video call, borrowing from the ‘befriending’ model used in the UK to help combat loneliness.
Sometimes we all will need a friendly ear and someone to help us through hard times. At times we all feel lonely, isolated, anxious or distressed. At these times eFriend can help no matter what other support you have in your life and can be utilised in conjunction with other mental health services. People can access up to six free one-on-one sessions with the same peer worker from the comfort of their home.
What does eFriend do?
eFriend is a virtual platform where you can connect using your personalised login to talk with a trained peer support worker over video chat or voice chat. Your eFriend Peer will listen, chat with you and offer guidance when needed.
There is no need to have a mental health diagnosis or referral, eFriend can be used to simply debrief about what has been happening for you under any circumstance.
If you like, they can assist you to identify any other services you may like to try or help you create plans to improve your personal well-being is a priority and you are safe. Or they can simply listen.
What is Peer Support?
Peer Support is not about diagnosis, or treatment. Our eFriend Peers understand what it’s like to go through difficult circumstances, loneliness or mental health issues – they ‘get it’ because they too have ‘been there’.
Our goal is to listen, and we will be guided by your goals in engaging with us. If you like, eFriend can help to tailor a safety plan or help you find and access other services or make a plan to get help – but first and foremost, we are here to listen and chat over a virtual cuppa.
Peer Support provides support, hope and guidance through this type of lived experience connection.
Peer Support is a non-clinical approach to mental health and wellbeing. It enables you to connect with an empathetic listener who has real life experience dealing with mental health issues, suicidality, trauma or complex life challenges and has skills to share from their experience of recovery.
What is an eFriend Peer?
An eFriend Peer is a ‘Peer Support Worker’ – which is someone employed on the basis of their personal lived experience of mental illness, suicidality and recovery (consumer peer worker), or their experience of supporting family or friends with mental illness (carer peer worker). This lived experience is an essential qualification for their job, in addition to other skills and experience required for their role including training in Trauma Informed Care, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Safe Storytelling.
How much does eFriend cost?
Nothing! eFriend is a free service that is enabled through a government grant. When you sign up for eFriend you are eligible for 3 – 6 free calls with a peer support worker who will listen and provide support for you.
If you need support – non clinical peer support – you can visit eFriend today. Click here.
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