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How we Began…

Grey space began after one of our founding directors Ben went through an extreme mental illness crisis and tried to take his own life. During his road to recovery he and his family found services extremely difficult and support non-existent due to the public system being under funded and so back logged they just couldn’t help anyone. However, Ben and his family didn’t give up and they forged a path to recovery against all odds, managing to use the government system to access private mental health services and become well managed in his diagnosis. What came out of this was a discussion about what things could be done to help others get well managed from suicide and mental illness. The following are some of the most effective and simple things to do to gain mental wellness, yet can be some of the hardest things to obtain while you are struggling through crisis. 


1.

What to do during the crisis and what comes next once the immediate crisis has subsided and you’ve been released from hospital.

The grey space organisation hopes to be able to raise enough funds to have a team of peer support workers who will help not only the person going through crisis but their families and friends. The first few weeks from the day the main crisis begins are tough and it can feel like walking in the dark. We know that our peer mental health workers will be able to guide both the person suffering and their families into ongoing care within the private sector. Including getting psychiatric diagnoses as well as ongoing psychotherapy. But the gaps are too expensive in private sector. This leads into number 2…

2.

Payment of Gap fee’s for people on mental health plans.

The government mental health plan system is brilliant it allows for on average 5 to 10 psychotherapy sessions per year. However, the average gap payment for a good psychologist can be upwards of $75. This can be well out of reach for someone suffering mental illness and unable to work. We hope to fund these gaps for those who are eligible using either a full funding or co contribution scheme to help get people properly diagnosed, treated and well managed. Sometime being well managed means medications. 

3.

Funding medications for mental illness.

Medications can be vital for those suffering severe and complex mental illness. Suffering severe and complex mental illness sometimes means you are unable to work, being unable to work generally means being stuck on the Newstart allowance trying to survive as there is not yet a system designed to support mentally ill people. There are people quite literally having to make a choice between buying the medications they need to get well and become a productive member or society and feeding their children. We hope to fund medications on a co contribution scheme so that no on that is mentally ill is having to choose between food in their belly and a roof over their head or the medication that is going to make them well again. 

4.

Information.

We hope to provide as much information to people suffering through mental illness and suicide crisis and their families by putting together info packs that will include a step by step what to do in a crisis and a directory of local services in the area. 


5.

Crisis centre.

n Australia there is currently only one option for anyone who is presenting with a mental illness crisis no matter what the severity. This means that mild cases are being sent to emergency rooms along with the severe ones. Hospital psychiatric rooms based in emergency are overcrowded and people who need to be kept in are being pushed out in a revolving door system. The grey space aims to open a 24-hour crisis centre on the sunshine coast. We believe that this will relieve the pressure on the emergency departments and will serve as a place that anyone who needs it can always drop in at any time. We believe that the current system needs to be supported to be able to help the people that need it most. And the model we are working on for a peer support staffed centre is a big step towards that.

The grey space organisation and all its Directors, members and volunteers all come from a lived experience of mental illness or suicide. From being mentally ill ourselves to being carers of loved ones who are mentally ill we understand the ugly side of mental illness and we believe the programs we are trying to fund and implement will make a huge difference in getting people back to being well and lowering the suicide rates in Australia. 

Our Values…

Equality – Mental illness doesn’t discriminate and all should have equal access to quality mental health care.

Respect – Each person is different and has the right to choose their own treatment plans

Community – Creating human connections between Peers, medical professionals, sufferers and their families.

Education – Creating awareness though social media, publications and peer to peer.

Meet The Team

Kate Lindquist

Director

Kate has Spent over 10 years in the public practice industry, from boutique specialist firms to Big 4 firms. Kate is a XERO specialist and a high performer with it comes to cloud solutions for her clients, having extraordinary knowledge of the new breed of accounting software. Her strong background in client services and networking make Kate a massive asset to “The Grey Space Organisation ltd” Kate is a bubbly and outgoing yet extremely focused career woman who also enjoys time with her family and of course her French bulldog Abby.

“I love working in the accounting industry, I love dealing with people from all walks of life and hearing their stories, but all too often I was hearing sad stories about people struggling with their mental health and how it was effecting their lives. I was also bullied during high school; I found my passion for anti-bullying through being apart of the grey space organisation. It allows me to give back and help support the mental health of those struggling with bullying and their parents who struggle to understand and try to protect their children from this horrible thing BULLYING. ~ Kate Lindquist

Emma Russoniello

Director

Bachelor of Accounting with Distinction, Diploma in Management & Certificate IV Business with 2 years’ experience in public practice and over 10 years’ experience in business management.  Emma is currently working towards her CPA accreditation and is a member of the golden key honours society.

“Whilst I have worked in business and accounting for almost 15 years there was something missing from my life. I have a strong passion for mental illness and suicide recovery. Having a lived experience with both caring for someone with severe mental illness as well as battling with my own mental illness I wanted to do more to help others. Putting my vast experience and business management skills into ‘the grey space’ was the missing piece in my career and my personal life. I have met some amazing people and done some amazing things with the grey space. I’m proud of the fact we continue to make a difference in the lives of so many people suffering mental illness”. ~ Emma Russoniello

Ben Russoniello

Director

Ben has business and management experience from running his own successful business’ for well over a decade, as well as providing business advisory in the IT industry. Ben has managed to become successful in business despite having sever mental illness. Bens mental illness has equipped him with an extensive understanding of mental illness, specifically Bipolar, but also has an amazing ability to bridge the gap between people with mental illness and those without. He brings a lived experience of the ugliest sides of mental illness to ‘The Grey Space Organisation’.

“I have been apart of many things in my life from sport to business, being bipolar I have had many careers due the nature of the illness yet I   have been successful in them all. Nothing compares though, to being a part of The Grey Space Organisation. Having been failed by the system after a suicide attempt and having to figure out the path to recovery on my own, I am proud to be part of an organisation that can help support people through their crisis whether it is mental illness or suicide. Given time we will grow to be a force that fights for the rights of mentally ill and support all those struggling through crisis and into recovery. ~ Ben Russoniello

Shanna McLeod

Director

Shanna is ‘The Grey Space Organisations’ mental health guru. With qualifications ranging from a Diploma in mental health and Cert IV in mental health Peer work up to diplomas in training and assessment and Art Therapy. Shanna believes in a holistic view on treating mental health, her approach to mental health lined up perfectly with ‘The Grey Space Org’s’ being Person first. All people going through mental health crisis should have input into how they treated for their mental illness / health. Every person is different, and we all respond differently to different treatments. Shanna is a champion of this form of mental health advocacy and person first focused treatment.