Month: March 2017

Coming Together for Recovery: Peer support principles come to the Forensic system

new forensic hospital

The Forensic Hospital, Malabar, NSW, is a high security, 135 bed mental health facility for male, female, adult and adolescent forensic and correctional patients and a limited number of high risk civil consumers.

Peer support can benefit people with mental health issues who are in prisons or who are staying in secure settings like the Forensic Hospital at Malabar NSW. Flourish Australia has been working with Justice Health to make it all happen.

The Together for Recovery project is an initiative of Justice Health and the Forensic Mental Health Network that aims to improve consumer participation in a high secure mental health facility in NSW.

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VET-FEE HELP Protect yourself from crooked dealers in higher education

By Warren Heggarty

Under the VET FEE-HELP loans system of funding vocational education, unscrupulous providers used high pressure tactics and inducements to sign people up to courses. Often the people were living on welfare and unable to carry the cost of the education. Worse, it seemed that many people were not even completing the courses that were leaving them out of pocket. Some who were signed up were not even aware they were enrolled.

According to a report in The Australian newspaper, the old system ‘ransacked more than $6 billion from the public purse in four years.’

The federal Education minister Simon Birmingham described it as a ‘monumental disaster’ and has announced that a new system would be introduced from January 2017.

Continue reading “VET-FEE HELP Protect yourself from crooked dealers in higher education”


Wayne Petersen

Flourish Australia has been bringing in external teachers to help our workers earn real qualifications in the hopes of providing a better tomorrow. WAYNE PETERSEN, founder of the Academy of Workplace Learning, spoke about these classes.

Which Flourish Australia locations have you taught at so far?

I’ve been training workers at the West Ryde, Harris Park and Marrickville branches since May 2015. A total of 47 people started the Warehouse Operations Certificate III course, but these traineeships take two years so none of them have completed it yet. Before this I used to teach a Certificate IV in Mental Health (non-clinical) to Flourish Australia peer workers.

Historically, how is the graduation rate of your students?

I’ve helped students to complete 400 traineeships over the last decade, and we are very proud of our 100% graduation rate. Our figures are so high because of the extensive work we put into designing our training material and by ensuring that all our potential students have the competency required to graduate. We also spend three face-to-face hours with our participants each week to be sure that they understand (and complete) their assessments. Note that our graduation figures don’t include any participants who leave the organisation or become sick and are unable to complete it (around 15%).

Continue reading “Upskilling”

What employers are looking for: Automotive Trades


Who doesn’t like cars? After reading Bo’s story on the previous page, we thought there might be a few readers interested in following a similar career path.

So, we looked through some actual advertisements for people in the fields of panel beating, spray painting, vehicle detailing and automotive general hand to see what employers are looking for. This might give you an idea of what to focus on if you are thinking of working in this area.

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Feeling valued


Feeling valued

By Bo from Tamworth

I’ve always enjoyed cars and wanted to work in the vehicle industry, but in 2003, I became unwell. I found it hard to concentrate and my memory was poor. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

It was in 2004, I became aware of Flourish Australia (then known as RichmondPRA) through HASI (Housing and Accommodation Support Initiative) in Tamworth.

I’d been homeless for a while and Terry from MINOA (Men in Need of Accommodation) signed me up. It meant I could be off the street, and in a clean, warm bed. This meant everything to me.

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A Catastrophe in the Making

Wayne freaking out

From a very young age, Wayne was often anxious, thinking the worst of every situation. He also tended to avoid ACTING upon problems, which emphasised his sense of helpless victimhood.

Aged 32, Wayne had been constipated from new blood pressure medication and began feeling a ‘twinge’ in his stomach. After a couple of weeks, he clearly recalls suddenly thinking to himself “I’m going to die of stomach cancer”. He also recalled feeling as though he ‘deserved’ to die.

This was despite there being no evidence of any serious disorder. The next day his brother-in-law saw him and commented “You’ve lost weight”. Wayne took this as a sign he was wasting away from cancer.

Continue reading “A Catastrophe in the Making”

Slaying the dragons of Negative Self-Talk and Negative Thinking


by Meredith

Negative thinking or negative self-talk can be among the biggest barriers we face when embarking on the road to recovery. It can be like a little ghost sitting on our shoulder constantly whispering lies, discouragement and irrational thoughts into our ear, every time we try to do something. Negative self talk can originate from many experiences such as:

a) Negative things that have been said to us by others
b) Experiences of difficulties in important relationships, or traumatic life events
c) Constantly comparing ourselves unfavourably with others, or to impossible ideals (like fashion models)
d) Internalising social stigma associated with mental health issues

Continue reading “Slaying the dragons of Negative Self-Talk and Negative Thinking”