Born in Australia from Thai and English backgrounds, Belinda was halfway through a Bachelor of Arts Diploma in Education when her mental health issues first appeared. Belinda went from an outgoing high-achiever to a person her own family barely recognised, and schizophrenia soon played absolute havoc with every part of her life. Stress is usually a factor in the emergence (and also the return) of most kinds of mental health issues, and university is one of the most stressful things you can do at a young age. Sadly, Belinda was unable to continue her education and had to leave uni, which was a crushing day. Although disheartened by this event, Belinda hopes to return to university one day and realise her dream of becoming a teacher.
On the road to recovery
Belinda has had a few admissions to Cumberland hospital since her mental health issues came about, but hasn’t been admitted again for over seven years to date, which is a great achievement. She attributes her continued recovery to getting enough sleep, eating well, seeking advice from friends and family and, like many of us, is prescribed medication. Belinda also gets into regular exercise several times per week with work-out videos in her lounge room, and she’s recently started resistance training with kettle bells at her local gym. As the medication Belinda is on can make it very easy to gain weight, keeping active like this is highly recommended.
Belinda occupies her time with volunteer work at an aged care facility, where her duties include administrative, secretarial, and recreational tasks. Belinda’s day varies, so it’s not unusual for her to be divided between paperwork, answering phones, filing, feeding the residents and even keeping them entertained with music, singing, talking and games. Lots of the residents have few (if any) visitors, so they need all the care and encouragement they can get. As a big bonus, Belinda’s bosses are supportive of her mental health needs. She’s found the aged care facility stimulating and challenging enough to keep her interested for over eight years.
Hobbies and pastimes
Belinda has other interests besides working and keeping fit: she likes watching Neighbours and Home & Away, enjoys going out with friends to movies and dinner, and secretly reads the occasional trashy magazine (we know the truth!). She’s lived in a housing commission place in the greater Parramatta area for quite some time now, but hopes to eventually move on to another suburb.
Belinda is going to get married to her fiancee James in June. In addition to this awesome news, Belinda has also enrolled in a Certificate III at TAFE, as she finally feels ready to continue her education. Panorama wishes the happy couple all the best in life, and we hope that Belinda’s Cert III is a pathway to a new, more rewarding career.
Do you want to work in Aged Care?
It takes a certain kind of person to work in Aged Care like Belinda. It can be very demanding physically, mentally and emotionally, and the residents of aged care homes can often be fragile both in body and mind. Just in case you ARE like Belinda, below is a brief overview of what you’d need to do through TAFE to become an accredited aged care worker, but there are other courses out there from different providers if you search around.
Aged Care Certificate III
This course is for people who want to work in a residential aged care facility. You’ll learn about the aged care sector and how to provide care and support for older people. Clinical placement in a public/private hospital or medical facility is a part of this course, so you may need to undergo occupational screening and be vaccinated against infectious diseases. There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
When you finish this Cert III you can apply for advanced standing in other courses, such as Community Welfare Work, Youth Work, Mental Health, Disabilities and Alcohol & Other Drug Work. You may also be eligible for more advanced study outside of TAFE NSW. Some of the modules include:
- Working with people with disabilities and mental health issues
- Follow safety procedures for direct care work
- Support older people to maintain their independence
- Provide support to people living with dementia
- Work effectively in the community sector
- Support individual health and emotional wellbeing
- Deliver care services using a palliative approach
- Advocate for clients
- Work within a relevant legal and ethical framework
- Provide support and care relating to loss and grief
- Identify clients with language, literacy and numeracy needs and respond effectively
- Assist clients with medication
- Process and maintain workplace information
- Work effectively in home and community care
- Undertake home visits