2020 is a year that most of us were happy to leave behind. For Michael, a patient referred to Social Health by Alfred Health, it was especially trying. The former real estate professional was admitted to hospital five times and had an amputation.

‘Then in June, my social worker got in touch with Social Health on my behalf,” he said.

After being paired with Christeen Waring, a Social Health volunteer practitioner and psychologist, things began to shift for Michael.

‘I liked Christeen immediately. She is warm and easy to speak to, and we never run out of things to talk about,’ Michael said. ‘She gives me different kind of support to that of my family, and perhaps because it’s entirely voluntary and I know there is no agenda.’

While Social Health volunteers are trained and vetted to be able to hold space for deep conversation, sometimes it’s the simple act of displaying kindness and decency that allows a person going through a difficult time in their life to feel better.

‘It’s nice that someone outside the family knows you and thinks about you, Michael said. ‘Christeen is a decent person with a great big heart. I feel very fortunate.’