Month: March 2017

Guildford affordable housing project

Guildford apartment block under construction

By Grant J Everett

One of the greatest elements of independence is to live in your own home, a place where you are the boss. However, when you combine a state-wide shortage of properties, rising rental prices, and the very real threat of having to move out at the drop of a hat, finding (and keeping) your own place can be difficult and stressful. Renting a decent home seems to be something that’s moving further and further out of reach for many of us, even for people who are employed.

Expanding our scope

Flourish Australia wanted to do something about this issue. So, it was decided that our organisation would dip its toe into the real estate market by building an affordable block of apartments in Guildford. Guildford was chosen because it’s situated midway between Parramatta and Liverpool, an area that contains a lot of people on low incomes, making it an ideal location for people who work, and it’s also a good option because the local property prices are pretty reasonable for Western Sydney.

It’s important to note that although Flourish Australia deals predominantly with people who have a lived experience of mental health issues, our Guildford flats will be available to tenants outside of this scope, too. That means you don’t need to have a mental health issue or any other sort of preexisting connection with Flourish Australia if you want to move into one of these apartments.

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Bathurst & back by bus

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Do you love going on holidays? Exploring new places, seeing unfamiliar sights, trying the local cuisine, alternating between fun and relaxation as much as you want? It’s something that everyone needs to do now and again to recharge our batteries and recover from our busy lives.

Just as they’ve done for the last six years, three of our Day 2 Day Living Centres – Penrith, Blacktown and the Richmond – offer the people who access our services a chance to go on a long trek, have fun and unwind in new surroundings. The participants decided that their destination for 2016 was going to be Bathurst and Jenolan Caves. A total of seventeen people who access our services made the long, four-and-a-half-hour trip to Bathurst (including stops). The bus trippers had plenty of chances to stop, grab a refreshment and stretch their legs, and thankfully the trip was lots of fun. Like every year, Peter Cochrane went above and beyond the call of duty by driving for the entire trip.

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You need a holiday! From Poppet Head to the Hot Glass Gallery at West Wyalong

Miners Hut West Wyalong story.jpg

Flourish Australia’s services run regular field trips as part of their monthly calendars of activities. These calendars are put together by the people who access our services together with the staff. Here is a peek at one such outing from the Leeton and Griffith services.

One of the first thing the Leeton/Griffith people visited on their West Wyalong outing was the Poppet Head. In case you don’t know what a poppet head is, that’s a picture of it at bottom left. It’s part of a mine. Mining is part of the history of West Wyalong and there are even some old miner’s huts still there like the one pictured above.

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Country Recovery

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By Martina from Moree

Nowadays I feel well for the first time. I have learned that being in relationships that are controlling can make you unwell. By giving me support when I needed it, the people at Flourish Australia have helped me gain a sense of hope for the future.

I have also learned to be very aware and mindful of the signs that you are becoming unwell. When this happens, you need to be proactive and get help straight away. This can save you going to hospital.

The family background

Many, many members of my family had mental health issues. Family on my mother’s side were in and out of hospital on a regular basis. It was on my father’s side too, but none of this was ever spoken of in our family.

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Patricia: My Peer Worker

Here is a picture of Patricia’s favourite flower, the Hibiscus. It reflects the beautiful personality that she shows to those who seek her help and assistance.

HIbiscus

Meredith* came to Flourish Australia’s PreEmploy Program in 2016 because she wanted to explore the idea of returning to work. Here she discovered the power of peer work!

By Meredith

I first met Patricia, my peer worker, at my PreEmploy interview in March 2016. What first struck me about her is that she not only seemed capable and efficient in her job but was also very easy to talk to. She was not pushy in any way and hence made me feel relaxed in all our exchanges. During our next meeting for the PreEmploy screening process, I was able to share with her the personal challenges which I needed to overcome so that I could be able to work in an office environment. It was a relief to find someone I could trust and confide in about my previous work challenges as it was something I seldom talked about with many people.

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Miss Galaxy International Says:“It’s okay not to be okay!”

Shikye 2

Shikye Alyce Smith speaks to Grant J Everett

Panorama magazine had the distinct pleasure of receiving a visit from Shikye Alyce Smith, the first ever Australian beauty queen to win the Miss Galaxy International pageant. As Shikye is going to use her position to raise awareness about mental health issues by serving as an ambassador for the Flourish Learning Network (you’ll hear a lot more about that in the future), we understandably had a lot to talk about!

SHIKYE: “My own experiences of mental illness began after I was robbed at knifepoint in Paris. As I wasn’t physically injured, I assumed that everything was fine. But then I’d be walking down the street and I’d be short of breath, and I’d go into cold sweats, and I’d be shaking and my muscles would go limp, and I had absolutely no idea what was happening. It was terrifying. And then I started becoming fixated on certain things, like flicking power points on and off for no reason. Many other little habits started to appear, too. At my worst, I couldn’t sleep until the sun came up, because I had this theory that people were making a tunnel into my apartment and they were going to come out of my closet and kidnap me in my sleep.

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Master M’s Story!

Baby M

Master M’s mum found out that asking for help IS the right thing to do…and that recovery, like all important things, can take time.

WARNING: this story refers to things that may distress readers. Remember, if you are struggling and need help you can ring LIFELINE 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au

In July 2016, Master M entered the world. Master M is a miracle baby, two times over.
Master M’s mum had given up on having her own children after multiple failed IVF treatments. She was told it was ‘unlikely’ that she would ever get pregnant because of her physical health. Over a long period she had gotten progressively more unwell, but no one had any answers why. This situation developed into a deep depression that compounded over time, and with each failed attempt at IVF.

His mum didn’t know how to ask for help with how she felt. She had been raised with the belief that asking for help showed weakness and that she was strong enough to handle it on her own.

As the depression got worse, panic attacks began. With things spiraling out of control, Master M’s mum decided that she didn’t want to live like that anymore. She decided to end her life in 2006. Master M’s mum survived because a neighbour happened to drop by shortly after and call an ambulance.

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