This year’s Mental Health Month theme is ‘Have The Conversation’ and UnitingSA is encouraging everyone to join in, to help those struggling to find support.

UnitingSA has teamed up with the Mental Health Coalition of SA in launching its new online video, encouraging us to think of the different ways we can ease people into a discussion about their mental health.

UnitingSA’s Mental Health Services Manager, Anna Sutherland, features in the video alongside comedian and lived experience speaker Marc Ryan, Minister for Health and Wellbeing Chris Picton and a range of sector representatives.

“We can sometimes avoid talking about our mental health challenges or even reach out to someone we’re worried about, because we don’t know how to start that conversation,” Ms Sutherland said.

“But it can be really simple. When we’re doing activities together, conversation can flow freely and easily. You could be out walking together, cooking dinner, fixing things around the house or gardening. There are so many ways we can reach out.”

The 2023 ‘Have The Conversation’ campaign encourages listening without feeling like you have to come up with the solutions.

“If someone opens up about their mental health challenges, they’re not always looking to you to fix it. Just listening and being there is really important. If they need help, ask them what they need and help them find that. You don’t have to have all the answers,” continues Ms Sutherland.

Not all mental health challenges can be resolved in a conversation. A recent Unmet Needs Report released by the South Australian Government found that 19,000 South Australians with complex mental health needs are living without the psychosocial support they need.

This is the type of support that allows people with complex needs to continue to live well in the community. This one-on-one support can be in a range of areas including helping to manage money and meals, to getting involved with community activities, helping build confidence and coping skills, or providing transport to medical appointments.

UnitingSA offers psychosocial support services across the state, assisting people to participate more fully in the community. Our Avalon program also provides a supportive accommodation service in Adelaide’s south.

“Our teams have done a remarkable job in responding to this need, while navigating the challenges of the current environment we are in. The increase in cost of living and lack of affordable housing is placing additional pressure on the people we support,” said Jenny Hall, UnitingSA’s Chief Executive Officer.

“Over the past year UnitingSA has seen an increase in people living with complex mental health needs in our services, along with others who are reaching out for support for the first time.

“We know there are still a lot of people out there who are not reaching out for support or struggling to find it. We hope this Mental Health Month they reach out to us for support,” adds Ms Hall.

Find out More:

Mental Health Month is celebrated each year in the month of October. To find out more and to see activities and events taking place near you, visit the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia website.

Need help now?

If you require urgent mental health support, or are experiencing a mental health emergency or crisis, please get in touch with one of these support services:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 or
headspace: 1800 650 890 or