SANE Forums Partnership Model: Expanding Digital Peer to Peer Support

The 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium will this year be held over 15-17 October at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania.

Joining us at the conference is Miss Mehna Alacozy, Forums Partnership Coordinator at Sane Australia who will present on ‘SANE Forums Partnership Model: Expanding Digital Peer to Peer Support’.


It is known that people living with complex mental illness, particularly those living in rural and remote regions of Australia, often experience social isolation. Launched in 2014, the SANE Online Forums provide the opportunity for people with lived experience of mental illness and their families and friends to make connections and seek peer support through a safe, anonymous online platform. Research has found that peer to peer support is integral for people living with complex mental illness as it offers benefits such as sharing stories, building social connections, emotional resilience and a space to for meaningful social engagement.

The fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention plan recommends that the outcomes and experiences of consumers and carers can be improved through organisations building relationship for collaborative services provision (National Mental Health Plan, 2017).

SANE Australia has syndicated the Online Forums through over 60 partnerships with mental health, carer and community managed organisations across Australia. This means that organisations are able to offer this online peer support Forums services on their website at no cost to their organisation. We develop the syndicated version of the forums to match their organisation’s own branding and offer monthly digital promotional support.

This presentation will provide a detailed overview of the Forums partnership model through a case study which explores the process of onboarding, integration and promotion. The aim is to demonstrate how the SANE Online Forums is able to build capacity for organisations and services to deliver a digital mental health service for their audience which complements their existing models of care, particularly for regional, rural and remote communities. Preliminary findings from a recent service evaluation will also be presented.

Key Learnings:
1. A detailed understanding of how the SANE Online Forums work?
2. What the partnership model entails and the benefits for organisations.
3. How individuals living in rural and remote communities benefit from online peer to peer support in their mental health journey?


In 2017, Mehna Alacozy commenced her role as the Forums Partnership Coordinator at SANE Australia’s Online Forums team working alongside an online community engagement coordinator and an online community manager in Sydney. Mehna has a background in Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Health & Counselling and has previously worked in health promotion field coordinating state-based campaigns for Mental Health and Perinatal depression and anxiety awareness in NSW.

For more information on the 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium and to secure early bird discounted rates currently on offer please visit

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