Author: Panorama

Learning to become a peer worker: Tanja’s work placement at Resolve, Cranebrook

By Tanja Rac 

tanja.jpgABOVE Left: Tanja relaxes on the bus, satisfied with how her work placement went PHOTO BY TANJA RAC . Top Right: The sitting room at Cranebrook. Bottom Right: One of the four bedrooms. It’s not like a hospital! PHOTOS BY WARREN HEGGARTY

By studying to become a Peer Worker, Tanja is learning how to use her lived experience of mental health issues to help others who are on a similar journey. This is her story.

I have been studying a Certificate IV in Mental Health (Peer Work) through the Mental Health Coordinating Council for over a year now. I want to use my life experiences to help other people, and this is the best way I can do that. Part of gaining the Certificate IV is doing some on-site work experience with a relevant organisation. I emailed a few service providers, and I ended up getting accepted to do my placement with Flourish Australia. They asked me where I wanted to do my work experience, and as Flourish Australia’s Cranebrook service wasn’t too far from where I lived, it was a good fit. Ash Kumar, the site manager was happy to support my placement which was for two days a week for four weeks.

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Recovery Forum at Surry Hills: Doing It For Ourselves

By Warren Heggarty 

Untitled-1ABOVE: People enjoying creative moments during the Recovery Forum in Surry Hills, hosted by the members of Buckingham House. PHOTOS COURTESY PETER FARRUGIA

The people who access our services are stepping up to facilitate Recovery Forums. On the 3rd of December 2018 a large gathering at Surry Hills was co-facilitated by Deonny Zaroual. Deonny is a supported employee at Figtree Conference Centre and also a member of the Community Advisory Council. Having benefited from Flourish Australia’s promotion of recovery, Deonny is now helping to spread the message to others through these forums, together with Peter Farrugia, our Peer Workforce Manager. 

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Raylene: Going above and beyond

by Grant J Everett

raylene.jpgABOVE: If it needs doing, Raylene will do it! PHOTO BY GRANT EVERETT

Raylene attends Flourish Australia’s New Outlook day-to-day living centre at Wollongong. Like many of the people who access New Outlook, Raylene does her part to keep the place functioning. Raylene does so much, in fact, that people have often complimented her dedication and strong work ethic. 

“I have a volunteer role at New Outlook which we call a Peer Associate. My role is very broad, but I basically do whatever is necessary to keep the centre running smoothly. I clean, take care of the bins, perform general maintenance work, a variety of admin tasks, I greet new arrivals and tells them about what there is to do today, ring up people’s lunches at the till, and keep the computerised filing system in an orderly state. If it needs doing, I will do it!” 

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Back On Track Health: Passing out or fainting


By Grant J Everett


Fainting is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. While fainting may occasionally indicate some sort of medical condition, the real danger comes from falling over and injuring yourself. This is especially serious among older people who can suffer severe injuries from even the smallest of tumbles. Thankfully, our bodies will usually correct blood flow problems to the brain before we reach the point of passing out, but not 100% of the time. 

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Your to-do list for a great Summer

by Grant J Everett

great summer.jpg

Summer is a traditionally a time of holidays, beaches, fun and relaxation. With a little planning and a few basic supplies, you can stay safe and happy for the whole season. 

Don’t underestimate the sun 

Our thinning ozone layer is letting through more harmful UV light than ever, making sun protection vital. There are two kinds of UV radiation: UVA rays penetrate deep into your skin, causing damage all the way down, and this leads to premature skin aging, eye damage (including cataracts), and reduces your ability to fight off illnesses. UVB rays inflict a more superficial kind of damage, and are the main cause of sunburn. Both UVA and UVB play a key role in the development of many skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest kind. 

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A one stop shop for our physical health: The ccCHIP Experience

by Warren Heggarty


ABOVE: ‘They engaged with me one hundred percent…they tried so hard to make me comfortable…how marvelous this clinic is!’ says Martha of ccCHIP. PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY

Martha* speaks very highly of her visit to the new Charles Perkins Centre ccCHIP dedicated to the physical health of people with mental health issues. 

People with serious mental health issues live up to 20 or 25 years less on average than other people. Why? Because our physical health needs get overshadowed by our mental health issues. 

Gaining referral to the health specialists we need is a complex and lengthy process at the best of times, let alone when we are mentally unwell. As revealed in previous issues of Panorama ccCHIP is a program that endeavours to bring specialists together in a ‘one stop shop’ so that people with mental health issues have a better chance of getting all the physical health help they need. 

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