Month: October 2016

Moneyrama: Keep a spending diary


In the previous Moneyrama we talked about priorities and about spending money on things you don’t really need. This time we are going to look at keeping a spending diary.

Keeping a spending diary is necessary if you want to make wise financial decisions based on actual facts, not guesses. You will be able to see exactly what you spend money on. You may be shocked to see how much you spend on things that are of low value and having the figures in front of you will make it easier to transfer that money to things you really DO want.

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How Astronauts de-stress


“Houston, we have a problem…and we’re coping fine.”

Some think that people with mental health issues can’t handle stress. In fact, NOBODY can handle stress…until they’ve learned how. It’s not your health condition, but your learning and practice, that determines your ability to de-stress. People with anxiety problems can acquire stress management skills which are SUPERIOR to the general population. How? The way that astronauts do!

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“Where are the boundaries?” Prickly questions at the Intentional Peer Support Training


Pictured: Fay Jackson, Manager of Inclusion, tells how it is.

During the Intentional Peer Support Training event in May, the question of professional boundaries was raised. A medical practitioner, for example, has clear rules of conduct in place to protect both doctor and patient alike from impropriety, or even just the appearance of impropriety. The nature of Peer Work, however, seems to make it different from other professions. Does Peer Work lack boundaries, as some have suggested? When Fay Jackson addressed the IPS training group on this topic in May, she was very clear that it does have boundaries. This is a position which might be controversial to some, but which is our policy at Flourish Australia.

Fay Jackson, who was among the earliest Peer Workers herself, spoke about some of the disastrous things that have happened in the past when Peer Workers have operated without boundaries.

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Grevillea Cottage closure

Grevillea 2.jpg

Warren Heggarty

Dedication and a can-do attitude as well as compassion: these were all part of the operation of Grevillea Cottage, a PARC project operated by RichmondPRA and Mt Druitt Hospital from 2015-2016 which came to a close at the end of the financial year.

The project was all too short-lived because the funding was only available for a limited time. In the course of Grevillea Cottage’s operation, the project provided many learning opportunities that will be useful for future endeavours. The data they collected will also provide evidence for future programs.

PARC means “prevention and recovery centre.” The idea was to provide a way for people to avoid hospital admissions, either with a step-up (moving from home into the cottage) or with a step-down (moving from the hospital into the cottage). You can read more about this in the March 2016 edition of Panorama.

Outgoing manager, Alexander Avenarius, said that the step-up part of the program was particularly successful.

“This has demonstrated that a PARC can be a genuine alternative to an inpatient admission for some people experiencing a deterioration in their mental health.”

Once again, Alex said, it has also shown, “the great value of close partnerships between (NSW) Health and NGOs (like Flourish Australia) and the amazing things that such collaboration achieves for the people we support.”

Veggie Boxes: All of the goodness, a fraction of the price


Grant J Everett

One of the major focuses of our organisation is sharing practical ways we can all live healthier lives. This is why we encourage good nutrition: moderating portions, eating from the five food groups in the right amounts, munching on assorted colours of vegetables, and minimising fat, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are a few of the ways we do this.

Alana Mondy from The Centre on Hunter Street, Newcastle, started up the popular Veggie Box program to encourage the people she works with to eat more fresh produce. The way it works isn’t all that complex: the staff drive the veggie box group to a local farmer’s market, bulk-buy whatever’s in season or has a good price, and divides the produce into equal amounts. As you can see in the above photo, the boxes come packed solid with a great variety of staples, as well as one or two more exotic things.

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Flourish Australia promotes a healthy lifestyle for all

Good physical health and good mental health just go together. Panorama has featured many stories about how our services are supporting us in taking responsibility for maintaining good physical health. But did you know that we provide this support is for the staff as well?

First off, let’s take a quick look at some of the ways Flourish Australia is fostering a culture where healthy lifestyle choices are valued and encouraged, followed by one small initiative we’ve got over at Head Office: standing desks…

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Migrants who don’t speak English at home seem to underuse Mental Health Services


A report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown that people born overseas who also don’t speak English at home used mental health services at a significantly lower rate than other people. How can mental health services bridge this gap?

Among those born in Australia who speak English at home, 10.9% of people aged 15 to 54 access mental health services in 2011, compared to only 6% of people born overseas who do not speak English at Home.

The statistics seem to indicate that the key factor is whether English is spoken at home, because migrants who do speak English at home have a rate of 9.3%. (Koziol, 2016) Other factors which might cause the lower usage rate include cultural differences and lack of knowledge of or engagement in the broader community.

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