Month: April 2019

Roll out the red carpet (literally) for the Youth Formal!

by Warren Heggarty

formal 1.jpgABOVE: It is not every day you get to step out of a stretch Hummer limousine and walk down the red carpet. Shall we dance? PHOTO BY NEIL FENELON

For many of us, the high school graduation formal has great significance as a coming-of-age celebration. Unfortunately, many young people miss out on this rite of passage due to mental health issues. This is why a group of Flourish Australia’s youth programs, spearheaded by Elizabeth Harlow, launched the Young People’s Formal Project. Friday the 15th of February 2019 gave them another chance! 

The Formal attracted the attention of the ABC which sent a film crew out and produced an item about it on the 7:30 report on 26 February 2019. Featured in the report were two of the young people, Jake Mooy and Jessica Bansgrove. 

Continue reading “Roll out the red carpet (literally) for the Youth Formal!”

Tink: Aiming to make three people smile before lunch

by Grant J Everett

Tink.jpgABOVE: Tink painted this flag as a statement about equality PHOTO BY GRANT EVERETT

Tink has been attending the New Outlook day-to-day living centre in Wollongong for about 12 months. Her mental health worker, Carly, helped her to connect up with this service. 

Like most of the people who access our services, Tink has a funding package from the NDIS. In addition to New Outlook, Tink has connections with programs such as Partners In Recovery. 

Tink is a creative type. She likes playing the ukulele and the djembe (a type of African drum), she sings at New Outlook’s karoke nights, and she creates all kinds of art. Tink is an artist of many different mediums, and has created quite a few works in New Outlook’s dedicated art area. Recently, she’s been drawing snakes with charcoal and pastels. 

Most of all, though, Tink’s favourite thing is to make other people happy. 

Continue reading “Tink: Aiming to make three people smile before lunch”

Advocate for your Rights: Got a complaint? Here’s how to give it some impact

By Grant J Everett 

shopping chick.jpg


Panorama will be bringing you a series of articles that discuss and describe the various means of self advocacy, also known as “sticking up for yourself”. First up, Grant J Everett looks at the basics of making a consumer complaint… 

Late last year, Flourish Australia’s Buckingham House service at Surry Hills, NSW, hosted a series of free talks called ‘Talkin’ Together’ that were put together by Being and the Department of Free Trading. They were aimed at assisting people to get the most out of the new world of NDIS. This article draws mainly on the fourth workshop ‘Making a Complaint.’ 

What you can do if you have an unacceptable experience with a service provider, including an NDIS service provider? Your complaint could be about any number of things: your landlord making sexually inappropriate comments, the gas company claiming you haven’t paid your bill when you know you have, your mobile phone provider changing the terms of your contract without any warning, or a bakery selling you a curry pie that’s gone bad. Not all complaints are dealt with on the spot. Sometimes you need to go ‘up the chain’ to get satisfaction. 

Continue reading “Advocate for your Rights: Got a complaint? Here’s how to give it some impact”

Advocate for your Rights: Mel’s self advocacy against employment discrimination

By Warren Heggarty 

mel home study.jpgAbove: Mel in her study at home, showing some of the assistive technology related to her sensory disability. She is a member of a certain profession requiring official registration…so we can’t show you her face, if you know what we mean. PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY 

In this second instalment, we look at the experience of Mel who has lived experience of a mental health issue as well as a sensory disability. Rather than live on a pension, she decided to enter a profession and support herself, but once qualified, she found herself in a protracted battle to gain appropriate employment. This was a battle she eventually won. 

Note: to protect the identity and privacy of certain parties some specific details have been suppressed in this story. -Editor 

You would expect that a Government Body responsible for registering people for employment would be a model of anti-discrimination rectitude. Mel found it was not quite so simple. 

Continue reading “Advocate for your Rights: Mel’s self advocacy against employment discrimination”

Advocacy for Recovery: Voicing concerns about the system

By Jessica B

jessica b.jpgABOVE: Moving out of home at 16 can often lead to greater difficulty but Jessica found it was ‘the best decision I ever made’ especially as she had support and remained in contact with her family. PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY 

This is the third in our series on Advocacy for Recovery. Here, Jessica tells how her experiences spurred her on to advocate for people with mental health issues. After many hospital admissions from the age of 16, Jessica found that there was a lot of room for improvement. Panorama also spoke to Flourish Australia Professional Practice Manager Janet Ford about better ways of handling the situations about which Jessica speaks.

WARNING: This article deals with the issue of physical restraint 

When someone is agitated and emotionally unwell, there’s a lot you can do to ‘de-escalate’ the situation. It involves talking to the person. 

Unfortunately, in my experience of many hospital admissions from the age of 16 there have been times when nurses and even police have acted in ways that have made the situation worse! Thinking about my experiences has made me interested in the field of advocacy for people with mental health issues. 

Continue reading “Advocacy for Recovery: Voicing concerns about the system”

Dr Jeffrey Chan asks: Can we end restraint and seclusion in Australia?

by Grant J Everett

dr chan

Constructively working towards improving the rights and dignity of people with disability 

by Grant J Everett 

WARNING: This article deals with the issue of physical restraint and seclusion. Please talk with someone if you feel distressed by it. 

Dr Jeffrey Chan of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission was the keynote speaker for Flourish Australia’s 2018 Annual General Meeting. His address centred around restraint and seclusion, and how commonly these practises are used on people who have a disability for the purposes of behavioural management. Rather than just wanting to reduce the frequency of restraint and seclusion that is currently being used on Australians who have a disability, Dr Chan wants to see the end of their use in this country altogether. 

Continue reading “Dr Jeffrey Chan asks: Can we end restraint and seclusion in Australia?”

Recovery Story & Carer’s Story: Mozzy and Donna 

By Warren Heggarty 

Mozzy and donna.jpgABOVE: Donna (left) and Mozzy (right) have alternated between the roles of “carer” and “cared-for.” PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY

Mozzy from Peak Hill in Central Western NSW, was elected Chair of the Flourish Australia Community Advisory Council (CAC), which is the representative voice for all of the people who access Flourish Australia’s services. ‘I want to contribute and make a difference for people,’ says Mozzy. In wanting to make a difference for his peers Mozzy has experienced a positive effect on his own recovery journey. 

‘I just want to emphasise how much being a part of the CAC has improved my sense of self worth’ says Mozzy. ‘I’d like to see other people take this sort of opportunity when it arises. Give it a go!’ 

‘I was still very reserved when a peer worker approached me about standing for the CAC. I resisted at first. Then I thought about it. Then I decided I’ll do it…but only if I’m going to make a difference.’ 

‘The CAC has given me so much opportunity to say and do things. It shows I CAN make a difference. It shows that I CAN help.’ 

Continue reading “Recovery Story & Carer’s Story: Mozzy and Donna “