Life Saver

7 October 2016 #522

Cover Story: Life Saver

Life Saver


Animals have long been used for aiding people with physical disabilities. But now they’re being used for something else: helping people with their mental health.

Last week the ABS announced that the number of people taking their own lives in Australia has hit a 10-year high. In this edition we take a look at the increasing use of companion animals to give emotional and physical support to people suffering from mental health issues like depression, anxiety and PTSD. This includes an interview with Sydney vendor Jai J, who talks about how her certified assistance dog Bella has given her a reason to get up in the morning. This is followed by a series of moving personal stories from people affected by mental health, including a story from Melissa Cranenburgh about losing a sibling to suicide, a personal story about finding hope after tough times from a member of The Big Issue family and a piece from award-winning writer Fiona Wright about the daily struggles of having an eating disorder.

Also in this issue...

We launch a new section: Letter to My Younger Self (as seen in The Big Issue UK), kicking off with a fantastic piece from Geoffrey Rush; Norah Jones returns to the limelight with a new album; Australian author Hannah Kent chats about the followup to her blockbuster debut novel; and in The Big Picture (formerly known as Roving Eye) a National Geographic photographer captures the majestic creatures hidden deep under the sea.

Michael from Adelaide stars in this edition’s Vendor Profile. And in Streetsheet, we have contributions from Vernon B in Adelaide; Nathan in Brisbane; Pat L in Perth and Dianne in Melbourne. We also have a snap of Claudett, a vendor from Adelaide, and hear about her reunion with her brother, 30 years after they last saw each other.

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