Are you, or is someone you know, in crisis? Please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for 24/7, free and confidential support from a trained counsellor (Australia only).

For non-emergency situations, please contact the Olive Leaf Network for confidential assistance and referral to support services

Resources

Recommended resources for former members and other interested persons

Resources for Former Members

Below are some recommended resources that may help former members in their journey, or be of use to others who are interested.  

These resources are intended to be a supplementary guide. We strongly encourage any leavers/survivors to also seek professional support.  If you are facing a personal crisis or require emergency help, please contact emergency services, crisis helplines or your primary healthcare provider.  

Our list below is intended to be brief. There are many additional resources.  If you know of a relevant resource not included below, please notify us. We are glad to hear of other quality resources. 

Thinking of leaving? 

This clear and comprehensive guide was produced in 2021 by former members of the EB/PBCC to support those who are thinking of leaving.  It  is a valuable resource to share with those in the process of leaving or considering it. 

You can download the booklet by clicking on the green button, or read it directly in your web browser using the embedded PDF reader on this page.

Recommended Resources

Click on the categories below to view a range of support organisations and resources for this country in particular. For globally relevant resources and support organisations, please see our global Resources homepage.

General support organisations - Australia

We have a list of recommended mental health professionals across Australia who specialise in areas that can be commonly experienced by those leaving high-demand religious groups. These areas may at times include, but are not limited to, issues such as grief and loss, trauma, faith crisis, life transitions, family/marriage/relationship difficulties, or forms of abuse. Please contact us for recommendations for personnel in your area.

Leavers/survivors may also qualify for funding support for mental health professionals – contact us to find out more.

Please also check out the below selection of support services in Australia. We encourage you to access these professional services if they are relevant to your situation.

  • Lifeline provides confidential crisis support for any person who is contemplating suicide, experiencing emotional distress, or caring for someone in crisis. Lifeline’s phone line 13 11 14 is available 24 hours a day. You can also text 0477 13 11 14 or use the chat feature on their website to talk to a trained Crisis Supporter.
  • Beyond Blue offers free telephone counselling on 1300 224 636, information on anxiety, depression and suicide, and detailed guides to help you understand the services offered by different mental health professions.  They also have an online forum where you can discuss your experiences with other people.
  • Black Dog Institute is a medical research institute which investigates mental health. Their easy-to-navigate website provides resources on a range of topics including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. This site also has an easy-to-use mental health tool that screens for ten different mental health conditions and provides the user with a report with recommendations and resources for ways to access help.
  • ReachOut is designed for young people, offering one-to-one peer support and moderated online communities, as well as tips, stories and resources. Their website has information on a wide range of topics including mental health, trauma and identity.
  • Full Stop Australia is an accredited, not-for-profit organisation that provides counselling for people whose lives have been impacted by violence and abuse. Their helpline 1800 385 578 is staffed by trauma specialist counsellors and is open 24/7.
  • 1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. They recognise that domestic and family violence includes but is not limited to physical and sexual violence, and can involve financial abuse, social abuse and spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse can occur in situations where spiritual or religious beliefs are used to hurt, scare or control someone. Social abuse is behaviour which may include stopping you from seeing your friends and family, controlling who you are allowed to interact with, and monitoring your communication with others. You can call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, 24 hours a day for confidential phone counselling.

Leavers may not initially consider accessing grief, loss and trauma support in their journey as people can tend to think of these terms or resources as only being relevant to bodily death or physical disaster. However, there is an increasing body of research to show that disaffiliation and/or excommunication from a high-demand religious group can be experienced by the leaver as harmful or traumatic to their well-being, and it has been termed a kind of social ‘death’. Therefore we recommend you check out information and resources on these topics to see if aspects of them are relevant to any possible grief, loss or trauma in your own journey.

  • Griefline provides resources, information, and telephone support for people experiencing grief, including grief caused by loneliness, isolation and the loss of relationship. Their number 1300 845 745 is available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
  • Blueknot supports survivors of complex trauma as well as parents, partners, family, friends and the professionals who work with survivors. Blueknot’s helpline 1300 657 380 operates from 9am-5pm, 7 days a week including public holidays. Their website offers information and resources, as well as webchat for people seeking information, education or support around referrals
  • Mensline Australia has a free support line for men with qualified counsellors who specialise in family and relationship issues, including relationship breakdown, separation and divorce, parenting, family violence, suicide prevention and emotional well-being. They can be contacted 24/7 on 1300 789 978.
  • QLife provides Australia-wide anonymous, LGBTIQ+ peer support and referral. QLife services are free and include both telephone and webchat support, delivered by trained LGBTIQ+ community members across the country.
  • Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation. They offer resources and support for LGBTIQ+ young people between 12 and 25, including 1-on-1 phone and online chats with mental health professionals and weekly online community discussions.
  • LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on supporting LGBTIQ+ people and communities. Their website provides a list of services and supports operating in each state.
  •  National Alcohol & Other Drug Helpline is available 24/7 on 1800 250 015. This number automatically directs to the Alcohol and Drug Information Service in your state or territory. These local alcohol and other drug telephone services offer support, information, counselling, and referral to services.
  • Alcohol and Drug Foundation provides evidence-based information about a wide variety of drugs, their effects and potential harms. Their DrugInfo helpline 1300 858 584 is answered by trained advisors who can give you information and help you connect with services.
  • Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) is open to anyone who believes they have a problem with sex addiction, porn addiction, love addiction, romantic obsession, co-dependent relationships, fantasy addiction as well as sexual, social and emotional anorexia. They have in-person, online and phone meetings that are open to anyone who wishes to deal with one of these addictions in a safe, confidential space.

Therapists

We have a growing database of recommended mental health professionals from a range of countries who specialise in areas that can be experienced by former members of high-demand religious groups.

Examples of their areas of speciality are; grief and loss, trauma, faith crisis, life transitions, family/marriage/relationship difficulties, coercive control and abuse, including sexual, spiritual, physical and psychological abuse.

We encourage former members of high-demand religious groups to find a trusted therapist to support them in their journey of disaffiliation and of building a new support network. There are also volunteer-led support or therapy groups with various foci that leavers may find helpful.

Be cautious of any person or organisation, including registered health professionals, if you suspect that they are affiliated with or have a mutually beneficial relationship with your former high-demand religious group or any of the group’s leadership.

Our database is subject to change, so please contact us for our most recent version.

If treatment costs are a concern, in many cases, the costs of psychological treatment can be subsidised by Medicare. Speak to your doctor about a Mental Health Treatment Plan which can help cover the costs of appointments with psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers.

Get In Touch

We’re here to help! Please send us a message using this form, or go to our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Please be reassured that all communication with the Olive Leaf Network will be held in strict confidence. Your personal information will only be shared with others beyond our network with your permission, unless you or others are in danger, in which case we will inform relevant authorities.

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