Month: November 2016

Why Not a Peer Worker?

Charting the progress of our strategy

This is based on the presentation given by Fay Jackson (see previous article) and Kim Jones at TheMHS. When our “Why Not a Peer Worker?” strategy was first implemented, Flourish Australia only had 22 Peer Workers across the entire organisation. Today, we have 160 Peer Workers and senior Peer Workers, and they make up a fifth of our total employee pool.

This expansion has allowed us to support nearly 5,000 people across our 66 sites throughout NSW and South East Queensland. We are still actively supporting the growth of our peer workforce, and will continue to provide the tools to support people with a lived experience at all levels.

Continue reading “Why Not a Peer Worker?”

Dancing: Get up and ROCK !

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Alas, our regular canine contributor Fluffy Sam the dog passed away in 2015. He left many funny stories including this one which embodies the lively spirit of recovery… and risk! Translated from the Canine by his Master KEN HUA, who is alive and well and still the

Chairman of Country Cottage

FLUFFY SAM THE DOG: Ah, Golden Boy, let me tell you something. Last night, Your Father, Our humble Master the Chairman was rocking heavily at Smithfield R.S.L.

GOLDEN BOY: [Astonished] Really?

FLUFFY SAM: He went there not only to watch the show but also to socialize with other people. The band was ‘Australia’s True Blue Brothers.’ and there were two female singers singing heavy music which our Master found quite entertaining. I didn’t think he would enjoy such loud and heavy music, but he did. At the beginning, our Master was hesitating about whether he should go on to the dancing floor and rock through the night; then he held a deep breath and said to himself: ’Let’s do it.’ So the next minute he was on the dancing floor!

… some of the audience did not have the guts and enthusiasm to get up and rock…

GOLDEN BOY: ‘Tell me, Fluffy Sam, did our Master dance a LOT?’

FLUFFY SAM: Well, MODERATELY, because there was not much of a response from the OTHER members of the audience. Believe it or not, some of the audience did not have the guts and enthusiasm to get up and rock like our Master!’

GOLDEN BOY: That’s amazing, I would not have thought in my wildest dreams that our dear friendly humble Master would get up on the dance floor to do some heavy rock. Please give my compliments to him!’

FLUFFY SAM: ‘Our Master told me that you don’t see very many OTHER Australian Chinese people come to watch the live show.’

GOLDEN BOY: Oh, that is a pity that they do not join our Master there. Perhaps they only watch the ethnic shows! Do you think that our Master will be rocking at the Smithfield RSL Club in the future?’

FLUFFY SAM: ‘I can’t see why not. Let’s rock and roll to Smithfield RSL Club!’

What’s happening in health at the local level?

 

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Tracy, Sarah & Dylan of Bega (above) are part of a growing fitness trend

Peak Fitness: Flourish Australia at Bega

It is important for everybody to stay fit and staying fit is more fun if it involves some social interaction as well. That is why Flourish Australia encourages the people who access our services to try out facilities available in the local community.

Naturally recovery involves going beyond your comfort zone now and then, but there are ways of doing this which make it less daunting and more enjoyable.

Sarah Buckle at Bega gives the example of the group which has been going along every Tuesday to play table tennis.

‘Sometimes it is really hard to start doing something on your own, especially if you have never done it before.’ Says Sarah.

‘So if you can get a group of four or five people to go along and do it together it makes the process a whole lot more comfortable. ‘

Another thing happening at Bega is the Peak Fitness Program sponsored by Grand Pacific Health. This program at Bega involves a Peer Worker and makes use of exercise physiologist Kim Bobbin.

Sarah says it is very much like having a personal trainer!

It is a twelve-week program that focuses on the personal goals of the participants – so it’s not like one of those celebrity boot camps you might have seen on the television!

Sarah says that once a group gets off the ground, there is a ‘flow-on’ effect because other people will then want to join in.

It is important for everybody to stay fit and staying fit is more fun if it involves some social interaction as well. That is why Flourish Australia encourages the people who access our services to try out facilities available in the local community.

Naturally recovery involves going beyond your comfort zone now and then, but there are ways of doing this which make it less daunting and more enjoyable.

Sarah Buckle at Bega gives the example of the group which has been going along every Tuesday to play table tennis.

‘Sometimes it is really hard to start doing something on your own, especially if you have never done it before.’ Says Sarah.

‘So if you can get a group of four or five people to go along and do it together it makes the process a whole lot more comfortable. ‘

Another thing happening at Bega is the Peak Fitness Program sponsored by Grand Pacific Health. This program at Bega involves a Peer Worker and makes use of exercise physiologist Kim Bobbin.

Sarah says it is very much like having a personal trainer!

It is a twelve-week program that focuses on the personal goals of the participants – so it’s not like one of those celebrity boot camps you might have seen on the television!

Sarah says that once a group gets off the ground, there is a ‘flow-on’ effect because other people will then want to join in.

Mediocre Fitness levels?

Aussies are lagging behind in both cardio and strength training. Nooooooo!

40 years ago Australia was in the World Cup Football final. Now, a set of studies being led by the University of South Australia show that Australia’s youth do not match up to their heart-lung fitness levels of 40 years ago. (Puddy, 2016)

We know that physical fitness is important and we know that it is especially important for mental health recovery. However, Less than 20 per cent of Australian children do the 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous exercise recommended for them by experts. (Puddy, 2016)
Cardiovascular (heart and lung) fitness is a good measure of general fitness. Our children’s fitness levels have dropped by four or five percent per decade since the 1970s. (Puddy, 2016)

This makes you wonder what all the gyms are for. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that there are 3,300 gyms in Australia now, up 1,100 from five years ago. (Berry, 2016).
A study of 200,000 people led by Dr Jason Bennie of Victoria University’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living’ recently reported that around 90 per cent of Australians do not meet the national recommendations for twice weekly strength training. (Berry, 2016)

Strength training is not about developing muscles on your muscles a la Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s about putting the strength into the muscles you already have.

clare-climbing

If you do nothing else, at least WALK. It is recommended that adults should take at least 10,000 steps every day, however the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey for 2011-12 shows that we average only about 7,400 a day. So there is room for improvement all round!

Bibliography

Berry, S. (2016, May 10). Why we need to get lifted: nine out of 10 Australians do not do enough weight training. The Sydney Morning Herald.

Puddy, r. (2016, June 8). Aussie Kids also-rans in the race for fitness. The Australian

The minute Clare heard about our mediocre fitness levels, she ran straight to the park for an aerobic tree hugging session.

Renee gets a whole-istic new look: Looking good and feeling GREAT

What’s happening in health and BEAUTY at the local level?

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By Deslee Matthews

Renee King accesses our HASI service in Tamworth. One day we asked her if she would like to get her hair and make-up done and she said yes!

Which is great because a bit of pampering can be good for your physical and mental health! And our self-esteem, which is how we value and perceive ourselves.

Looking after our physical health is important for us all, but it can be an extra challenge for those who live with mental health issues. This is because of things like the side effects of medication, being distracted by distressing feelings or thoughts, smoking, not getting enough exercise and many other lifestyle factors. Unfortunately, as we are all coming to realise, our physical health problems can often get overlooked when everyone is focusing just on the mental health side.

Once she had her makeover and saw herself in the mirror, Renee was stoked!

The transformation was immediate and when I say transformation, I mean Renee literally came to life! Take a look at the before and after photos. There is a brightness in Renee’s AFTER photo that was previously missing. Her confidence levels went from a four to an eight and her self-esteem was so positive that she even had a bit of attitude!

When I asked Renee how she felt before her makeover she said, ‘not good, I just didn’t feel like doing much at all.’ When I asked her how she felt afterwards she said ‘Like a princess! I feel like I could drive a car!’

‘I could drive a car?’ I’d never heard it put THAT way before. What about ‘I feel like I could rule the world?’

Renee Replied laughing ‘Well, I can’t drive a car and I felt so great it was like I would have just gotten into one and driven it!’

Then I got the message. When we feel good about ourselves, we begin to realise that maybe we CAN do things if we try. We feel like nothing is impossible when we feel like that.

Mental Health Month Festivities

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Event 1: Picnic Day at Bicentennial Park

by Larry Billington

The Picnic Day was terrific! The general vibe and enthusiasm that was there on the day manifests the trust implicit between this organisation and it’s diverse membership… in contrast with that recently articulated for the banking institutions and some of their client base.

Graham Seaman from WestClub, Penrith said he had caught the 8.30 train from Penrith to get there early, even though it didn’t start till 11 AM. “I know a lot of friends and peers here” he said.

Sean, an advocate from Campbelltown, remarked that it was even better than last year’s.

Continue reading “Mental Health Month Festivities”

Edwina’s Reflective Practice at PreEmploy Institute

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Edwina Keelan is a participant in the Current PreEmploy Institute program. A survivor of childhood trauma, she describes her path in terms of ‘art and writing’ and her methods include ‘creative expression’, ‘reflection’ and ‘memories and goals.’

Reflection, or reflective practice as we call it, is one of the three vital behaviours we promote at Flourish Australia. On our recovery journeys we need to stop and think about where we have come from, where we are, and where we are going.

This feeds into the other two vital behaviours, using strengths based language (about what I CAN do not what I CAN’t do) and having recovery conversations. Edwina keeps a number of journals in which she reflects on the things happening in her current life as well as memories of her past.

Edwina is actually very well organised and you can perhaps see from the photo that she has a place for everything and everything in its place. In case you are wondering why she is wearing a big hat, the photo just happened to be taken on November 1, Melbourne Cup Day!

One of her goals is to visit a TAFE open day in November to see about enrolling in a Certificate III in design fundamentals. Some time ago, she studied part of a Fashion Certificate III course, and she hopes to get some advanced standing from that.

Edwina recently sold one of her artworks (above) that was featured in the Flourish Australia launch celebrations. It was called “Flourish, Vegetation, Sunrays” and was a photographic print laid out on canvas. ‘I’d like to donate part of the takings. Part to the Australian Red Cross and part to Orphans in India.

Edwina has an interest in human rights issues surrounding LGBTIQA, especially transgender people. She has contributed to Polare which is the magazine of the NSW Gender Centre. Following a visit to Nepal, she did a story on the Blue Diamond Society, the first LGBTIQA organisation in Nepal (Polare issue 102 of January 2015).

Edwina describes the various local people she met and the challenges of being transgender in a country which does not yet have policies to prevent discrimination against LGBTIQA people and where the law does not recognise gender diversity or marriatge equality. She notes that in that country, transgender people who have transitioned can’t get a citizenship card or passport and so can’t travel.

Edwina tells Panorama that she is interested in helping out with our activities for the 2017 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Are you? If so, call Jas on (02) 9393 9036, or email her at jasmin.buchal@flourishaustralia.org.au

edwina