by Warren Heggarty
ABOVE: Brumby House resident Joel in training PHOTO BY NEIL FENELON
It was RUOK day and Joel who accesses Flourish Australia’s Young People’s Program at Emu Plains was making a debut as a rapper in the main street of St Marys. It featured on Flourish Australia’s Facebook page at the time. His rap was, of course, right on message. Having experienced mental health issues himself, Joel knows the importance of spruiking, or rather rapping for the cause.
‘My mental health is a lot better now than it was even four or five months ago. I’m now living on my own and that has been beneficial. Sometimes I like to have my own space. It’s good to have the right balance between “me-time” and socialising.’
Socialising includes the recent Youth Formal, which Joel and many of the young people in Flourish Australia’s youth services were a part of. ‘I regret not going to a high school graduation’ he admits.
Since his appearance in St Marys, Joel has been recording his freestyle raps and posting them on-line. ‘I am planning to get a job.’ He says. Will rap be a part of that? ‘I’m currently looking at an online music business studies course.’
‘One great thing about it is that now that I have moved into my own place I can do the things that I want to do. I find it easier to get motivated to do those things.’
Previously, however, Joel was a resident for a couple of years at the YPP service at Emu Plains, known as Brumby House, While he was there he managed to write a story about it which might shed some light on how far he has come. Today he admits that the ‘physical activities were hard’ and it has been hard to carry them over into life beyond Brumby House. But he gave it ago! These days meditation and yoga help with keeping control.’