last updated May 2013
Need Help Right Now?
Please don't be alone - there are people who care.
Lifeline (24 hours) - Phone 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service (24 hours) - Phone 1300 659 467
Welcome to Voices Vic
The Hearing Voices Network of Victoria
"Voices Vic & The Hearing Voices Approach"
The Age Newspaper: "New Movement Conquers a Mind Filled with Voices"
(Joel Magarey interviews Peter Hawes & Janet Karagounis and talks about the approach)
ABC 774 Radio: "Hearing Voices in Your Head? You are not alone."
(Red Symons interviews Indigo Daya. Discuss the experience of hearing voices, recovery, medication and stigma)
We support and train voice hearers, mental health professionals, and friends, family and carers across Victoria. We have no ongoing funding so our services are not as extensive as we'd like... but we're getting there!
Explore this site for information and resources about hearing voices.
Find about about support groups, services & training in your area:
Voices Vic: The Hearing Voices Network of Victoria
Facebook: Voices Vic
Phone: 03 9692 9417*
New South Wales
Hearing Voices Network of NSW
Phone: 0425 334 244 (Bruce)*
Hearing Voices Network of WA
Phone: 08 9350 8800*
Other States & Territories
Hearing Voices Network Australia
There aren't formal hearing voices
networks in other states and territories
yet - but there are support groups running,
so get in touch with the national network to find out more.
* Please note: Hearing Voices Networks are still very small teams, so we hope you
understand if you reach voicemail instead of a real person. Please leave a message
and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
Hearing Voices Networks (HVNs) are being established in each state and territory, as resources allow. These networks help to set up hearing voices peer support groups, and share resources and news.
by Voice Hearers, for Voice Hearers
When we’re really distressed it can be difficult to remember recovery and coping strategies.
The new Voices Vic self-help pocket guide is designed to be there for us when the voices get too much, and it folds up to easily fit in a pocket or wallet - so it’s always with you. There's room to add your own self-help strategies as well.
The guide is based on the latest ideas from the hearing voices approach, and has been developed in consultation with local Victorian voice hearers. Individuals can get one free from our office, and organisations can purchase bulk quantities at discount rates.
To find out more, or order copies, download our order form here.
Talk to local voice hearers, share your story, keep up with the latest news ...
come and visit us on Facebook!
Voices Vic is a network of professionals, carers and voice hearers that work together to reduce the distress which can be associated with hearing voices.
Our ambition is to establish Hearing Voices Groups across Victoria. Our vision is for the community at large to listen to the experience of voice hearers without fear or judgement, and with acceptance.
We believe recovery is not necessarily the absence of voices, but the ability to have a meaningful life. We believe recovery is possible for everyone.
You are not alone. You are not 'crazy'. You CAN recover.
Research tells us that at least 4% of the population hear voices, sounds or auditory sensations that other people cannot.
While many voice hearers are distressed by the experience (and typically are diagnosed with schizophrenia or another mental illness), the good news is that most are not.
Hearing Voices support groups help voice hearers to understand the experience, and explore new ways of coping and living. The groups provide a safe space to explore the experience of hearing voices - without judgement or fear - and with other voice hearers you can relate to.
Our approach is not about trying to get rid of your voices. Instead, it's about changing the relationship you have with your voices. Dealing with fear, anger and shame. Getting support where you need it. And learning to get control.
Please explore our site to find what you need:
Hearing voices support groups:
Click here for current groups
Click here to read more about groups
If there are no groups in your area, please let us know. We can support you to start your own peer support group. Or we can put you a waiting list and let you know when a group starts in your area. We will also inform organisations as demand for groups builds up in their areas.
Click here to find out about training you can attend (with discounts for voice hearers)
Click here to learn more about the approach, and strategies you can use with the voices
Click here to learn even more by visiting our recommended links
Click here to find out about books and DVDs on the approach and to read our self help fact sheets
Pop into our office for a chat if you like! You can also browse our free reading library. We're open Monday - Thursday, 10am - 5pm. Call first to make sure we're there! Voices Vic: 15 Cromwell Road, South Yarra (close to Hawksburn train station) 03 9692 9500
There are still very limited numbers of mental health clinicians who work with the hearing voices approach - but we hope this will grow! Later this year Voices Vic will launch a new individual peer support program, so stay tuned for news about this.
In the meantime:
This is a great research program which uses psychological approaches to working with voices, and is run by Dr Neil Thomas. Neil does fantastic work with people and really understands the distress involved with voices.
Talk to your GP, psychiatrist or psychologist:
Click here to search for Victorian mental health services
Click here to search for a registered psychologist
Most clinical practitioners will treat your voices with medication. For about one third of people, this is highly effective at getting rid of your voices. About another third find that medication reduces the impact of the voices, but doesn't totally take them away. And about another third don't get much help from medication.
We believe that medication can be an important part of your recovery if it gets you the results you need - but we also know that there is no 'magic pill', so it's important to remember that:
Medication alone is not enough for genuine recovery. We also need peer support, talking therapies, recovery oriented rehabilitation services, and frequently trauma counselling. If you believe that your voices are related to a traumatic event, or they cause you significant anxiety or depression, you are entitled to ask for counselling support to help you deal with these issues. Most of all, we need to work really hard at recovery ourselves, or it won't happen.
Get proactive with medical treatments. Make sure you ask about all the side effects of medications so you can make an informed choice about your treatment. Side effects such as weight gain and diabetes are really common, so don't wait until they happen to you - get proactive and ask for help with diet and exercise and health education. Some side effects can be very serious, so make sure you get regular health checks. And if you decide to reduce or come off medication, be sure to get medical advice first, and plan for it carefully. Withdrawal effects from psychiatric medications are common and can be very serious.
Watch out for overmedication. Recovery is really hard work. You need to be able to think and feel to recover. If you take so much medication that you can't think clearly or feel your emotions anymore, it's difficult to do the recovery work you need.
Visit a local community mental health service:
Places like Prahran Mission, Mind, Neami, etc are community mental health services that can support you in working towards your recovery goals. Plus you can meet other people going through the same thing. Click here to find community services in your area.
Are you feeling unsafe?
Please talk to someone about it - there is ALWAYS hope! Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or talk to someone you trust.
Share your story:
It helps to know you're not alone. Click here to read some of the stories shared on our site, and please feel free to share your own! If you have a story you'd like to share, please email us. You can remain anonymous or give your name - and even a photo or some artwork - if you'd like.
Voices Vic has now worked with many organisations across Victoria - and we'd love to add you to the list.
Please check our upcoming training, and call us to talk it over. We deliver a range of courses, and can also customise training to deliver in your workplace. We'd be happy to visit your service and talk to voice hearers, staff and carers. We can help you plan your group and provide lots of ongoing support.
Peter Bullimore and Voices Vic deliver
training on voices and paranoia to over
50 mental health workers, carers and
voice hearers (July 2010).
Ron Coleman & Voices Vic deliver an information day
for carers and family in the Northern Metro region of Melbourne (May 2010).
We know that many carers find the Hearing Voices Approach is helpful in providing supportive strategies to use at home.
We already have a number of carers involved in the network, and we are members of the Victorian Mental Carers Network. Many carers and family have attended our training, and others have passed on the information about groups to their loved ones. We have also provided some information days for family, and visited several carer organisations to share ideas.
Please visit our new carers and family page, and also try out our resources and books page.
We'd love your input to help make this site great - click here to email your feedback and ideas.
Please note that while 'Voices Inc' has a similar name, it is a different and separate organisation to Voices Vic.
We are extremely grateful to Prahran Mission for supporting our innovative, consumer-led program. We are also grateful to the trusts and foundations who supported us to start up this program which has helped hundreds of Victorians in distress.
But did you know that Voices Vic has no recurrent funding? We fund a lot of our work through income from training and events, but not enough.
If you are interested in helping this important program to conitnue its work, please contact us on (03) 9692 9500.
Please also keep an eye open for our Voices Vic fundraising activities and lend a hand if you can.