May 05 2016
Since 2009 Sara McAuley has worked as a support services worker with the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) supporting family members through the Ask the Expert program and providing public educational sessions in the Hamilton area.
“I started working in mental health after being a front line social worker and seeing how much of a need there was for supportive services for people with mental illness,” Sara said. “If we want people living with mental illness to be healthy and thriving, they need to be able to access the supports that are available, and through Ask the Expert, I’m able to help guide people through that process.”
Sara spends her day speaking with family members and describes the most difficult part of her job as not having enough hours in the day to address the needs of everyone she interacts with, but finds satisfaction in knowing she helps people cope with their situation. “The family members that I speak to are looking for ways to use the mental health act, system navigation and how to support loved ones who reject their diagnosis,” Sara said. “Families want to know what they can do to facilitate recovery if loved one isn’t accepting treatment.”
During Mental Health Week, Sara says that calls to the Ask the Expert line increase with the topic of mental health being in the forefront. “Talking about mental health publically definitely helps to reduce stigma,” Sara said. “According to the WHO, the number one barrier of people receiving mental health services is stigma. Working to end stigma can get us one step closer to getting people the help they need.”
Sara gets loud by supporting family members everyday with her work through SSO. How do you #GETLOUD