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Life-changing peer support for Australians in regional areas


For people living with disabilities, access to support services such as peer support is vital in maintaining mental well-being. Yet there is a considerable gap in the available support services in regions compared to metropolitan areas in Australia.

To ensure individuals with disabilities in regional areas have access to peer support, which sees people with lived experience provide essential mentorship and guidance, Spinal Life Australia is launching a tax appeal campaign focusing on extending its peer support services to regional communities.

Research reveals that around one in six (18%) Australians, or around 4.4 million, live with a disability. Of this group, the vast majority (77%) live with a physical disability. Whether a person was born with their disability or acquired it later in life, having access to peer support, from someone with a similar lived experience, not only helps people with disabilities come to terms with their condition, but also helps them to learn how to navigate their lives with the assistance of someone who can relate to them.

Spinal Life Australia has long been dedicated to empowering individuals with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities to live fulfilling lives. Recognising the importance of peer support in helping regain their independence, the organisation aims to extend these invaluable services to regional communities where they are often limited or nonexistent.

Mark Townend, CEO of Spinal Life Australia, said peer support services for people living with disabilities should not be limited to those who live in major cities and metropolitan areas. He said extending such support to regional Australia is a major priority.

“We firmly believe that everyone, regardless of their location, deserves access to peer support programs. It is a powerful tool that fosters connections, promotes personal growth, and provides a sense of belonging. Through our tax appeal campaign, we aim to bridge the gap and bring these crucial services to regional areas, empowering individuals with disabilities to thrive.

“We are incredibly grateful to our supporters who have been instrumental in helping us bring our vision to life. With your generous contributions, we can make a real difference in the lives of individuals living with disabilities, as this will give us the resources to help train more staff, allowing us to expand our reach to regional areas and ensuring that peer support services are accessible to all who need them,” he said.

Peer support plays a critical role in improving the lives of people living with disabilities, as it allows them to connect with others who have had similar experiences, challenges, and triumphs, and ultimately helps them to adjust to their new normal.

By sharing knowledge, insights, and encouragement, peer support provides a valuable support network that can positively impact mental well-being, self-confidence and overall quality of life.

This end of Financial Year, Spinal Life Australia seeks to secure additional funding to expand its reach and establish peer support groups in regional communities, ensuring that no one feels isolated or alone in their journey towards independence, and is encouraging Aussie individuals and organisations to make tax-deductible donations to support the cause. For more information about the tax appeal campaign and how to contribute, please visit

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.


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