ABOUT ROUGH PATCH
Rough Patch is an affordable counselling and mental health care service that provides counselling, referrals, and other supports. We’re a non-profit social enterprise, using a new, innovative model of practice and our mission is to make it easier and more affordable for everyone to access mental health supports and resources.
Everyone experiences rough patches in their life. Things like worry, anxiety, grief, sadness, anger and pain are a normal part of being human. We know that these things are normal, and yet there’s still so much stigma about the idea of talking to someone who can help us understand them better, so we can feel better.
Research tells us that when we get support and understanding to help us through a rough patch, we tend to feel better more quickly than people who don’t. We also know that counselling and support leads to better overall health outcomes, including physical health.
We want everyone to know that talking to a counsellor and learning about mental health can help us all feel and be better. Rough Patch is here because everyone goes through a rough patch sometimes, and that’s totally normal.
HOW IS ROUGH PATCH DIFFERENT TO WHAT’S ALREADY AVAILABLE?
Traditionally, mental health services in Australia are either full-fee, for-profit businesses which charge up to $250 per hour, or free services which are funded by faith-based charities or government departments. Often, the waitlists for free services are very long, and the organisations that provide them are underfunded, overstretched, and pay their counsellors a very low wage. They are also often faith-based organisations which isn’t the right fit for many people. At the other end, for-profit businesses charge high fees which aren’t affordable for many people, and generally only attract a partial Medicare rebate for a maximum 10 sessions per year.
Rough Patch provides a solution that sits somewhere between these two extremes. By offering a service that is subsidised by sales from our shop, by revenue from training, consulting to other health practitioners, organisations and businesses, and through donations and grants, Rough Patch provides counselling that is both affordable and accessible.
WHY AUSTRALIA NEEDS INNOVATIVE MENTAL HEALTH CARE
As with other countries around the world, many Australians experience a range of mental health difficulties.
One in five (20%) of Australians aged 16-85 experience mental health difficulties every year. (1)
The most common mental health issues are depression, anxiety, and substance use, which often occur at the same time. (1)
Almost half (45%) of Australians will experience mental health difficulties at least once in their life. (1)
Over half (54%) of people with mental illness do not access treatment. (2)
People who access treatment recover more quickly and have better mental and physical health outcomes. (4)
Health professionals are at greater risk of anxiety, depression and suicide. (3)
Early intervention reduces suffering, improves mental and physical health outcomes, and costs less. (5)
So what does this all mean?
We know that mental health care and support is a priority to improve Australian lives. We know that government-funded services are chronically overwhelmed, overbooked and under-resourced. We know that counsellors in these services aren’t paid a wage that supports their own self-care or wellbeing, or is commensurate with their wealth of knowledge, compassion and care. We know that affordable, accessible mental health care – like we provide at Rough Patch – can alleviate some of these problems.
WHAT IS A NON-PROFIT SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?
A social enterprise is a business that uses its revenue to improve communities, the environment or contribute positively to social wellbeing and advancement. For-profit businesses give their shareholders, including the owners, dividends of the profit made. In non-profit organisations, profits are reinvested and dividends are distributed to the community in the form of services, programs, employment and other resources. A social enterprise strengthens the community by providing a service that benefits everyone.
A non-profit social enterprise is not a registered charity. There are no tax breaks for the business, and they are not eligible for government funding in the same way charities and non-government organisations are.
At Rough Patch, we reinvest any profit back into the business to provide further affordable counselling and mental health supports to those who need us.
1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 4326.0, 2007. ABS: Canberra.
2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2014). Australia’s Health 2014. AIHW: Canberra.
3. Milner A.J., Maheen H., Bismark M.M. & Spittal M.J, 2016