The Myth of Trans Regrets

Posted on February 2, 2013 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi all

It's been a while since I last updated the blog. I just wanted to take this opportunity to show you all this fantastic infographic from Transstudent Tumblr -

The Myth of Trans Regrets 

Some very valuabe information for anyone thinking of transitioning.

Polyamory 101

Posted on October 29, 2012 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello all! Someone suggested to us the other day that we creat a "polyamory 101" cheatsheet. What a brilliant idea! Below are some helpful hints to keep in mind if you are planning to open up your relationship.


Arm yourself with information. Join a group or community, read some books, or look on the internet. This will mean that people who have been there before you can help you avoid making common mistakes.

Get out of the “scarcity” mindset. Living in a monogamous society means that we tend to think of love as a finite thing. There is a fear that if someone gives their love away, there will be less left for you. Try to shift to the “abundance” mindset. If you are feeling worried or scared, ask yourself – how would I treat this situation if I knew, 100%, that there was always enough love in the world for me?

Don’t just treat your partner how you would like to be treated – treat them how they would like to be treated. Imagine buying your spouse tickets to a rock concert because you like rock music, or a pot plant because you like gardening. Ask your partner what is important to them, and then strive to provide them with it, even if it is something you wouldn’t necessarily want/need.

Don’t insist on everything being equal. Some couples function perfectly well with one partner being monogamous and the other partner having several relationships. Or one partner might have very casual relationships, while the other might have very committed relationship. Do what works for you, not what you think should work.

Remember, you may have infinite love, but you don’t have infinite time. It’s great being able to see other people, but a garden doesn’t flourish if you don’t tend to it regularly, and neither will your relationship. Make sure you regularly put aside time to spend alone with each of your partners.

Be aware of NRE (new relationship energy). When you enter into a new relationship, physical changes take place in the brain that mean you are unable to think rationally. These changes can last anywhere from 6-12 months. Put some safeguards in place to make sure you don’t neglect your other partners during this time. If you partner is the one experiencing NRE, try to be extra compassionate – they aren’t thinking clearly.

Create a relationship agreement of some kind. Even if you do nothing more than write two sentences on a piece of paper, stick them in a drawer somewhere and never look at them again, I guarantee the resulting discussion will be one the most productive and informative you have ever had.

Be prepared to see a professional. You wouldn’t buy a new car and then never have it serviced. Having an open relationship is like trading in the old car and building a new one from scratch with no instructions. It’s ok to need help with it.


Our New Imanadari Postcards

Posted on September 28, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Imanadari Counselling at the Fetish Night Markets

Posted on September 24, 2012 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Check us out at the Fetish Night Markets, this Friday the 28th of September! Starts at 6:00pm at Citygate Central, Thomas St, Haymarket. 

Come along to our table and say hello!

Why everyone should have a therapist

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)

One of our twitter followers passed on this fantastic article -

Why everyone should have a therapist

Good on you guys, keep them coming :)

Mental Illness - an insider's view

Posted on July 8, 2012 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Hello all

Just a quick one today - this fantastic talk on TED from Elyn Saks, the Associate Dean and a Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry at the University of Southern California. 

Elyn is diagnosed with schizophernia and experiences periods of psychosis. Here she talks about her experience of living with a mental illness.

A tale of mental illness from the inside

I hope you find it as informative as I did. 

Navigating the Mental Health System - Part III

Posted on May 4, 2012 at 2:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Visiting Hospital

Hello again! This is part three of the Navigating the Mental Health System series - Visiting Hospital.

Going to hospital for a mental health condition can be an anxiety provoking prospect. Admission to hospital for mental health reasons is not something that is commonly talked about, and many people find it an extremely confronting process.

However, going to hospital can also be a life changing experience. Many people identify going to hospital as the turning point in their illness. It can be a place where mental health issues can be thoroughly explored and correctly diagnosed, where skills are taught to mange your illness, and a safe place to recuperate until you are able to manage on your own.

This article is about how and when people typically decide to go hospital, and what your rights and responsibilities are once you get there.

When should I consider going to hospital?

An admission to hospital is something that you should consider if –

You are having thoughts of suicide, harming yourself, or harming others

You are experiencing periods of being out of touch with reality, or feel out of control

You are seeing or hearing things that other people say they cannot see or hear

You are having difficulty maintaining basic daily routines such as showering, brushing your teeth, cooking yourself meals or getting yourself to work.

How do I arrange a visit to hospital?

If you are in serious trouble, considering imminent suicide or self harm, you should contact 000. They will transport you to your nearest hospital for assessment.*

If you are able to wait, but know that the situation is worsening, you will need to speak to your GP, who will can contact your local community mental health team and recommend an assessment.

If you live in the inner west or westernsuburbs of Sydney, this will normally be the Mental Health Access Line (1800 011 511) which is available 24hrs.

The best person to speak to at your local hospital for further information about admission is usually the Intake Worker or Intake Officer of the mental health unit of your local hospital.

Can I be admitted to hospital against my wishes?

Mental health professionals are bound by somethingcalled the “duty of least restrictive care”. This means that if there is another method of appropriate treatment available to you (such as remaining at home, treatment within the community, or treatment by a private psychologist) the are required by law to explore this option with you first.

Under certain circumstances you can be admitted to hospital against your wishes. The legal document that outlines when this can occur is the NSW Mental Health Act (2007). You can only be admitted to hospital involuntarily if you have been assessed by two medical professional to be “mentally ill” or “mentally disordered”. At least one of these medical professionals must be a psychiatrist.

The criteria for these classifications is very strict, and usually you cannot be admitted against your wishes unless there is a serious concern for your safety, or unless a mental health professional believes that you are so unwell that you cannot provide consent.

What are my rights as a hospital patient?

Unless you are an involuntary patient, you have the right to leave the hospital at any time.

Unless you are an involuntary patient, youhave the right to refuse treatment. If you are an involuntary patient, you still need to be informed of the kind of treatment you are receiving, and any potential risks associated with it.

You have a right to maintain contact withyour family and friends, including making phone calls, receiving mail, and seeing visitors.

You have a right to privacy. This includesthe right to spend time alone and in private with your partner/s.

You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and the right to safety.

What are my responsibilities as a hospital patient?

As a hospital patient, you have a responsibility to remain courteous and respectful towards staff and other patients.

You have a responsibility to abide by any occupational health and safety requirements the hospital might have.

You have a responsibility to refrain from using any intoxicating substances while you are on hospital grounds. This is for the health and safety of the staff and other patients.

Due to the dangers of passive smoking, you have a responsibility to refrain from smoking during your stay in hospital. Hospital staff will usually provide you with nicotine replacement, and assistance to quit smoking, if this is an issue for you.

Want to find out more?

For more information on your rights as a hospital patient, and a more thorough explanation of the mental health act, you can visit the website of the Mental Health Co-ordinating Council.

If you believe that your rights have been breached in any way during your stay in hospital, you can contact the Mental Health Advocacy Service on 02 9745 4277.

*Medicare does not cover the cost of ambulances, but there are some instances in which you will not be charged for using the ambulance service.

Taking a break

Posted on February 8, 2012 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Imanadari Mental Health blog is taking a break until after Mardi Gras.

As I am involved in organising a float for the Mardi Gras this year, I am actually practicing what I preach and making sure I don't get too overloaded. I'll still try to update regularly, but I will just be posting any interesting things that I find rather than writing big posts for now.

This week I found an article on procrastination. It's an issue that most people will have to deal wth at some point in their lives. And even if you don't, I bet you know someone in your life that does!

I like this article, and I think it makes some great points about why people might procrastinate. I am also pleased that it acknowledges the fact that it takes a lot of energy to change behaviour - it's unreasonable to expect yourself to change overnight.

Anyway, enjoy reading and happy Mardi Gras for all those who are participating or supporting!

Navigating the Mental Health System - Part II

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Financial Help

Hello everyone! I’m back to updating the mental health blog after a break over Christmas and New year. This is part two in my navigating the mental health system series, all about financial help.

I often speak to people who are struggling with finances due to their illness, and having a chronic illness of any kind (mental health or otherwise) can make it hard financially. You are often limited in the kind of work you can do, you may need time off for doctors appointments,and you may need part time rather than full time work.

Unfortunately, getting any kind of financial assistance is a very stressful process, so here is your “how to” guide to make it easier to get access to financial support that you are entitled to.


The benefit from Centrelink that most people are familiar with is Newstart, the payment that covers you while you look for work. However, you may not be aware that Centrelink also have other benefits such as the Sickness Allowance, Disability Support Pension, Mobility Allowance, Supported Wage System and Crisis Payments.

This means that you might be eligible for support if you go through a period of illness, if you have problems travelling to and from work, or if you need to leave your home due to domestic violence.

How do I get assessed for the Disability Support Pension?

If you have been unable to work for the past 2 years, you may be eligible to receive the Disability Support Pension.The first step is to approach Centrelink and ask them for the paper work that you will need to complete, and book any appointments you need.

They will usually need a report from your doctor and any treating specialists who might be able to provide them with information about your illness. Centrelink have their own staff who will provide you with a job capacity assessment.

What about psychological issues such as depression and anxiety?

Centrelink have their own psychologists who have received specialist training to perform job capacity assessments. They will refer you to one of these psychologists, who will ask you questions about your condition and ability to work. The psychologist will usually spend at least 1-2 hours with you, and may request that you return for another session.

What if I'm not elligible for the DSP?

Many people who eventually receive the DSP spend some amount of time receiving Newstart. This can be difficult because Newstart requires you to look for a certain number of jobs per fortnight, which can be hard if you are suffering from depression or anxiety.

Difficulty applying for jobs

If you have been having difficulty applying for jobs because of your condition, you will need to get a medical certificate from your doctor. You don’t need to go in every day, but the medical certificate does need to state that you are currently medically unfit to work for 8 hours per week.

Missingappointments/job interviews

If you miss an appointment, make sure you get a doctors certificate. If you miss several appointments Centrelink is required to give you a “Comprehensive Compliance Assessment” to determine why this has been happening. If you can bring medical certificates to this assessment, they will usually provide you with extra support, and may give you leniency around the amount of jobs that you need to apply for each week.

Link in with an agency

There are several agencies who can provide you with support, and help you find a workplace with an understanding of health and mental health issues. If they are aware you have a disability, some workplaces may also be able to offer you part time or modified work. This will give you valuable experience and some temporary extra income until you find the job you want.

What gets in the way of seeking help?

Paperwork and red tape

The best person to ask for help is Centrelink’s Community Engagement Officer. There is one in every major city, and in some regional centres as well. It’s their job to help people access the benefits that they are entitled to, and receive support through other agencies.

It may seem like a simple step, but just arranging a time with a friend to fill out paper work means that you are more likely to complete it. They can also provide help if you are experiencing fatigue or “brain fog” that day.

It's not always simple or easy

Unfortunately, it often takes several visits and phone calls to arrange for help, and it takes time. This can be extremely frustrating if you need help right now, or if it took a lot of effort just to pick up the phone.

Just knowing to expect that it will take a few tries can be helpful. It’s ok if it doesn’t get sorted out on the first appointment, or the second. Persistence is the key. Keep a written record of who you have spoken to, when you saw them, and what they told you to do to. Keep any forms you have filled out in a book or a folder, so that you have things with you when you need them.

Try to make phone calls when you are having a good day, so that you have the time and energy to deal with any frustration that you experience.

It’s ok to ask for help

In order to get help, you first need to recognise that you are someone who is living with a disability. Approximately one in five Australians suffer from a disability of some kind. Many of these are things that we don't always think of as a disability, like depression and anxiety, arthritis, poor eyesight, or back pain.

Disabilities don’t discriminate – you can be living with a disability even if you come from a nice family, have a good education, and are living entirely independently. If you are suffering from any kind of mental health issue or chronic illness, you still deserve help regardless of your socioeconomic status, gender, age or education level.

Helpful websites

People with Disabilities - A helpful list of agencies and other services for individuls living with a disability

Your Finances - The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation's financial information page

Food Services - A list of places where you can get free meals around Sydney, every day of the week

Financial Counselling - Free financial counselling from Financial Counselling Australia


Navigating the Mental Health System

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Navigating the Mental Health System

For the next little while I will be posting a series of articles to help you find your way around the mental health system. These will eventually be collected together into a "Navigating the Mental Health System" section for the website. Check back regularly for information on how to get the services that you need, and don't forget to email if there is a topic you would like to know about.

Part 1 - How do I get a referral to a psychologist?

As of the 1st of November 2011any individual who is experiencing mental health issues may be eligible for up to 10 sessions of treatment with a psychologist. These sessions are available over the calendar year (so, you could have 10 sessions any time from the 1st of January, 2012 until the 1st of January, 2013).

You will need a referral from a GP, psychiatrist or paediatrician. Most people choose to be referred via their GP. The referral your GP gives you is called a “Mental Health Care Plan”.

Some helpful things to remember

You can make it easier for yourself and your GP by calling before hand and confirming that they can provide a mental health care plan, and request a long appointment.

If you are requesting a referral to a specific psychologist, you will need the following information –

Name of Psychologist

Name of Practice

Address of Practice

Telephone Number

Medicare Provider Number

Registration Number

If you are unsure of any of these details, just ask the psychologist. They should be able to provide them to you, and maybe able to phone them through to your GP. If you don’t know who to see don’t worry, your GP should be able to provide you with a referral.

 What will happen in the appointment?

You GP will ask you a series of questions about your condition. They need to know about any changes to your mood, appetite and sleep. They will usually ask you about physical symptoms. Sometimes they will administer a brief questionnaire – this helps them get a better picture of what has been happening for you.

Sometimes when people are under stress they notice that they gamble more, drink more alcohol, or may use other substances to help themselves feel better. It is important to let your GP know if this has been happening so that they can refer you to the right person.

Your GP may also ask if you have been having any thoughts about hurting yourself, or about hurting anyone else –these are very normal thoughts when you are unwell or in a difficult situation. If this has been happening for you, it is important that you let your GP know so that they can provide you with extra support.

What then?

After you see your GP, you can contact your psychologist and make an appointment. It’s best to contact them as soon as possible as there is often a waiting list. If you are really struggling let them know – they may be able to help you find some alternative support until your first session.

If your psychologist bulk bills then you will not need to pay for your sessions. If they charge above the Medicare rebate, you will need to pay the full amount and then take the receipt to a Medicare office to be reimbursed.

Some practices can now reimburse you straightaway using new “Mediclear” software – ask your psychologist about “Mediclear” if this would be helpful for you.

Your psychologist will then be able to see you for 6 sessions. After the 6th session they will need to speak to your GP and decide if you are eligible for an additional 4 sessions.

Getting the most out of your referral

Some people find that they need more than10 sessions. While it is unlikely you will be able to access further sessions through your GP, there are ways that you can structure your appointments to get the most out of them.

You might space your initial sessions close together, and then space them out over time. You might choose to have your first sessions focus on helping you find employment or financial assistance. Or you might space your rebate sessions one month apart, and attend extra sessions in between when you can.

If you have private health insurance, contact your insurer – private health funds often provide cover for psychological services, and some of them run programs that can provide you with extra psychological support.

There are other services you may be elligble for

If you have multiple health issues, or your mental health issues are significantly impacting your physical health, you may be eligible for a referral to some other services such as -  

Aboriginal Health Worker



Diabetes Educator


Exercise Physiologist

Occupational Therapist




Speech Pathologist

If any issues such as pain, hearing loss, diabetes or weight gain/loss are making your mental health worse, you should consider asking your GP for a referral to one of these professionals as well.

Want to find out more?

“Better Access to Mental Health Care” is an initiative of the Department of Health and Ageing. You can find out more about it at the Department of Health and Ageing website.