Guide Dogs Victoria to boost accessible mental health supports with help of grant
Guide Dogs Victoria will boost its mental health support for people who are blind or have low vision after receiving a grant from the Department of Health.
The $225,000 investment will continue Guide Dogs Victoria’s current mental health literacy project and assist with launching new accessibility focused projects.
In 2024, the organisation is readying to build and strengthen accessible pathways for Victorians with vision loss to better access mental health and wellbeing supports.
That will include more mental health and wellbeing workshops and peer support groups for people with lived experience.
Another big focus is on creating accessible referral pathways into mainstream mental health support services.
General Manager of Guide Dogs and Vision Services Russell Harrison says people with blindness or low vision have additional barriers to access supports.
“Even trying to book psychologist appointment online may be impossible when the site is not screen reader friendly.
For many clients at Guide Dogs Victoria, getting help has been a long journey.
“They’ve coped all their life, and they’ve accepted it, but many times they might not recognise that they could benefit from professional support to help them thrive,” Russell adds.
Last year Guide Dogs Victoria hosted four mental health first aid courses that saw 20 peer leaders and 40 Guide Dogs staff accredited.
Arming the community with the resources to help their peers is a huge way of improving the support that is offered.
Increasing access and improving accessibility will be a key aspect of Guide Dogs Victoria’s 2024 mental health focus.
Guide Dogs Victoria was one of 20 business shortlisted to benefit from the $4.2 million investment.
The grant aims to improve access to fair and effective mental health supports for people with a disability.
For more information on Guide Dogs Victoria’s mental wellbeing services for people with blindness or vision loss, speak to Guide Dogs Victoria on 1800 804 805.