Welcome to Panorama Online Magazine, the digital version of Flourish Australia’s recovery-based consumer view quarterly! We deal with all the news, views and articles that all people living with mental health issues need to know, particularly if you live in New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland. If you’d like to watch a short video to find out what our organisation has to offer, click here.

Navigating this site is easy: just scroll up and down to explore our many articles from most recent to most ancient. If you’re after something specific, simply type a topic into the SEARCH box on the toolbar to the right of this page and make your selection from a range of relevant stories. Once you want to return to where you started, hit the HOME button at the top of the page.

Would you prefer to read the hardcopy version of the magazine? No problem! We’ll still be releasing a physical version of Panorama Magazine in March, June, September & December each year. As always, Panorama Magazine is FREE, and we even cover postage. So if you’d like a copy of the latest issue, or if you want to arrange a subscription, feel free to sling us an email.

And don’t forget: this is YOUR magazine! The publications team are always happy to reply to your questions, queries, comments, confusion and even the occasional hateful threat, so feel free to contact us at the email addresses or phone numbers we’ve listed to the right under CONTACT US. We always want to hear from you!

-Warren & Grant

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How creative expression can do wonders for your health

ACTION: Adapting CANSAS to Individuals’ Own Needs                                         Recovery Conversation Theme #6: Physical Health

Grant J Everett 

Creative pastimes like art or writing or dancing or playing an instrument have more to offer besides fun. Being creative improves your brain function, allows you to express difficult emotions, and can even help with a mental health recovery journey. For example, expressive writing (where you narrate an event and explain how it affected you) is an effective way to overcome trauma, and while you might not feel the best in the immediate aftermath, the positive long-term effects are well worth any temporary discomfort. But did you know that creative pursuits can do wonders for your physical health, too? Not only can tapping into your creative side improve your overall wellbeing, but you don’t need to be an artistic prodigy to gain these benefits. Anybody can do it! 

So how could painting a picture or penning a story improve your health? 

Continue reading “How creative expression can do wonders for your health”

Are YOU serious about ‘culture change?’ How thinking long-term can benefit you

ACTION: Adapting CANSAS to Individuals’ Own Needs                                          Recovery Conversation Theme #21: Managing Money

By Warren Heggarty 

nab photo.jpg

You might have heard that the Hayne Royal Commission into financial institutions has revealed some pretty poor corporate behaviour on the part of major financial corporations like banks and insurance companies. 

Continue reading “Are YOU serious about ‘culture change?’ How thinking long-term can benefit you”

Is being on the Disability Support Pension less stable than ever? 

ACTION: Adapting CANSAS to Individuals’ Own Needs                                          Recovery Conversation Theme #22: Income and Entitlements

By Grant J Everett 

On the surface, the Disability Support Pension seems pretty straightforward: if an Australian citizen proves their eligibility, they will receive the correct amount of social security from the government. But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes of social security. Here are a few factors that could really change the way the DSP operates for some of our readers. 

Continue reading “Is being on the Disability Support Pension less stable than ever? “

Heart attack part 2: The Chairman counts his blessings

by Ken Hua, aka The Chairman and Chief Administrator of Country Cottage 

beach funny.jpgABOVE: Julie and Johnny nearly lost their grandpa, but fortunately The Chairman survived to count his blessings. PHOTO COURTESY 0F KEN HUA

As you might recall from our December 2018 issue, The Chairman (Ken Hua) had a heart attack. Hovering between life and death gave Ken the opportunity to reflect and put his anxiety and depression into perspective. He continues his story… 

The life saving surgery by Professor Leung took nearly two hours to complete. As he awoke afterwards our Chairman saw that both the Lady of the House and his son the Diamond Boy were there wearing a big smile, standing next to our Chairman’s bed. Soon, it became an international event as they were joined by many other visitors via WEBCHAT including Platinum Boy (from Switzerland), Platinum Girl and the grandchildren Julie and Johnny (from Ireland).

Continue reading “Heart attack part 2: The Chairman counts his blessings”

Social Citizenship Think Tank: Let’s take it up to the next level

think tank.jpg

By Warren Heggarty 

Flourish Australia began developing the current Recovery Action Framework a few years ago to enable us to be at the forefront of mental health services, that is, to truly put the people who access our service at the centre of everything we do. 

Not content to rest on our laurels, on 4 December 2017 we held the first of a series of Social Citizenship Think Tanks which continued throughout 2018. We hope these Think Tanks will carry the vision even further. 

Continue reading “Social Citizenship Think Tank: Let’s take it up to the next level”

Welcome Here!

ABOVE (clockwise from top left): Head Office at Sydney Olympic Park, Marrickville, Newcastle and Headspace Broken hill are just a few of the locations who have joined the Welcome Here Project.

ACON’s “Welcome Here Project” was created to support businesses and organisations throughout NSW in declaring that their locations are safe and welcoming spaces for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) community. As this fits perfectly with our own vision of a fully inclusive community, over the span of 2018 Flourish Australia became an active participant in the Welcome Here Project. 

It’s all pretty simple: when one of our locations confirms with ACON that we want to be involved, that location is provided with a nifty rainbow sticker declaring that the LGBTIQ community is Welcome Here. Every time another one of our branches puts up one of these stickers, we’re sure to crow about it on Facebook. 

To date, teams at Moree, Marrickville, Newcastle, Head Office at Sydney Olympic Park, Warana and Headspace at Broken Hill have all proudly joined the Welcome Here Project, and there will certainly be more to come! 

For more information, or to register your business or organisation as a member, head to… 

#FollowTheRainbow #ACONWelcomeHere #headspace #youth #wellbeing #lgbtiq 



My journey towards becoming a peer worker: Part One

by Glenda Paton, Peer Worker

glenda.jpgABOVE LEFT: Glenda with husband Dave and their twins Laura (far left) and Josh. ABOVE RIGHT: Glenda graduating her Bachelor’s in Primary Teaching with a proud Dave PHOTO BY GLENDA PATON

I reach down to gently press the pause button on the treadmill that is life. I am guilty of jumping from one task to another, one phase of life to the next, without always taking the time to reflect on what I have been through, what I am going through, and where I am headed. How have I come to be a peer support worker, helping people who are struggling with their mental health and in other areas of their lives? While it can be emotionally exhausting, this is a deeply fulfilling role where finishing the day comes with a sense of having made a difference in someone else’s life. 

For me, it started in the middle of my high school years. I missed quite a bit of Year Nine and the majority of Year Twelve. After several stressful events occurring within a short space of time – the suicide of a boy who lived down the street, being bullied, and a loving but occasionally chaotic family life – I experienced a “manic” episode of bipolar disorder. I had difficulty getting to sleep, my thoughts raced faster than a V8 car, and my speech was going a mile a minute. I sometimes did unusual things, and some of these memories are clearly embedded in my mind. For instance, I remember my sister trying to suppress a chuckle as I bounded up to the family dinner table decked out in about five coats and six hats. Instead of sleeping I drew and wrote in my journal at all hours of the night, occasionally hallucinating from lack of sleep. My family were worried, and often stood guard at my door. One night I suddenly opened my bedroom door to find them darting away. I also remember the embarrassment on returning to school when I had to retrieve stuffed animals from my locker that I had brought with me in the midst of my heightened mental state. 

Continue reading “My journey towards becoming a peer worker: Part One”