National Epilepsy Nurse Helpline a big boost for regional sufferers

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Eaton's Matilda Mason believes a national epilepsy helpline will provide plenty of benefits for those living in regional areas with the condition.
Camera IconEaton's Matilda Mason believes a national epilepsy helpline will provide plenty of benefits for those living in regional areas with the condition. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

The launch of an Australian-first national epilepsy helpline has been welcomed by an Eaton woman with the condition who hopes it will be a source of comfort for people in regional areas.

Matilda Mason said she hoped people would feel comfortable reaching out for help and no longer feel abandoned in regional areas.

“The helpline will also raise a voice for epilepsy and get people talking,” she said.

“Epilepsy is not just a physical condition, it can impact sufferers mentally and emotionally as well. I wish I and my family had had the opportunity to learn more about the condition when I was diagnosed at the age of eight and I hope people will be referred to the helpline so they no longer have to live in a shadow.”

The Epilepsy Nurse Helpline was launched by Epilepsy Action Australia on Wednesday and will ensure qualified nurses will be reachable seven days of the week via phone or email.

The nurses will be able to answer a variety of questions as well as refer callers to external services if required.

Federal Government funding has been allocated to helpline in order to address the health condition referred to as neglected by the World Health Organisation.

Epilepsy Action Australia chief executive Carol Ireland said the helpline had been developed specifically to improve health outcomes for people affected by the condition.

“There are around 250,000 people diagnosed with epilepsy in Australia and many of them only see their epilepsy specialist once or twice a year,” she said.

“The line will mean that a person who has a question about their medication can get an almost instant response, or a person concerned about a family member who has had a seizure can get immediate advice as to what to do next.”

Call 1300 374 537 to call the helpline or email epilepsy@epilepsy.org.au.

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