My journey towards becoming a peer worker by Glenda Paton: Part Two


ABOVE: Glenda’s graduation (with support from a very proud husband, Dave)  PHOTO BY GLENDA PATON

Last issue, we introduced our readers to Glenda, sharing the journey she has taken through mental health issues on the way to gaining the life that she wants. At the end of part one we revealed that Glenda and her husband, Dave, found out they were pregnant with twins…now read on

By Glenda Paton

I had a healthy twin pregnancy and an uneventful labour. Apart from being induced, I was able to have both the babies naturally, which was unusual in Bathurst hospital as twins are often caesareans. We were fortunate that a midwife friend of ours was able to get us into contact with another midwife who was studying to be a doula (a woman who provides guidance and support to pregnant women and new mums). She really helped support us through the pregnancy and postnatal periods. 

Unfortunately, after our babies were born I became unwell again. My husband had never seen me like this, so all of a sudden he was a brand new father of infant twins who had to also deal with a wife who has mental health issues. This was a really challenging time for both of us, and we only got through it with God’s help (as well as family, friends and various organisations around town). Due to my husband’s brain injury he slept very heavily at night, so we needed outside assistance to look after our twins when I was in hospital. 

Continue reading “My journey towards becoming a peer worker by Glenda Paton: Part Two”

Walking through life together, riding into the future

SAM WITH HIS BIKE.jpgABOVE: Decreasing the sense of isolation was a challenge for me before I was introduced to Flourish Australia PHOTO PROVIDED BY SAM 

By Sam from Hervey Bay

Not having to struggle through the whole mental health challenge on my own anymore feels like flourishing to me. At Flourish Australia, I have others around me who “get it” and walk with me through it. It took time to build a level of trust and connection where I felt safe to open up. What I needed came about quite organically while we were walking through life together. 

Continue reading “Walking through life together, riding into the future”

The Sun-Herald Westpac City to Surf dream becomes magical reality!

City-to-Surf-Sydney--1024x683.jpgABOVE: “We…were met with a crowd of approximately 90,000 people,” says Justin who followed in the hallowed footsteps of Steve Moneghetti and Rob De Castella from Sydney to Bondi via Heartbreak Hill. 

Justin was one of a team of three from Flourish Australia’s Goulburn service who took part in the great race in 2018. He was happy to share his story with Panorama. 

By Justin from Goulburn  

I want to tell you how taking advantage of an opportunity benefited me. 

As a teenager I had always wanted to participate in the Sun Herald Westpac City to Surf, a 14 kilometre hike. 

So when I was asked at age 44 what I wanted to achieve, I thought of the City to Surf.

It was just a dream at the time, but now it has become a reality.

Continue reading “The Sun-Herald Westpac City to Surf dream becomes magical reality!”

Engage and Re-Engage YCLSS Street Soccer in Newcastle

yclss street soccer.jpgABOVE: Ball for fun and fun for all! Have you thought about the benefits of playing team sport?

By Kirby Lunn

​Sport brings great benefits – not just because of the physical activity, but also because of its well-known positive effects on our social and emotional well-being. 

Flourish Australia’s Newcastle (NSW) service has a small team of passionate mental health workers who make up the YCLSS (Youth Community Living Support Service) program. We are here to support 16-24 year old individuals to promote a smooth and supported transition into all aspects of community living.

Continue reading “Engage and Re-Engage YCLSS Street Soccer in Newcastle”

Fun, commitment and support: getting physical with the Mood Active exercise program

mood active.jpgABOVE: Tennis, music and company – stories from the Mood Active court PHOTO FROM MOOD ACTIVE SITE

Tania Curley is the General Manager of the Mood Active Exercise Program. She visited Buckingham House to fill us in about what this service has to offer. 

Even though we all know we’re meant to be exercising, many of us don’t. Admittedly, it’s not always easy to workout when we’re feeling down or having a bad day, and it can be tough when we’re already so busy. For example, when I visited my beauty therapist she said to me, “I know I need to exercise, but it’s just another job!” 

I think it feels like this for a lot of us.

It’s no secret that exercise is necessary to keep healthy, and it provides many other physical benefits, too. But what if I told you that exercise can offer a lift for your mental health, too? Research has shown that regular physical activity can be an effective treatment option for mild to moderate depression, anxiety and stress.  Continue reading “Fun, commitment and support: getting physical with the Mood Active exercise program”

The man from Lightning Ridge

Jean Claude 7.jpgABOVE: Jean Claude has a serious sensory disability, but this doesn’t hold him back! PHOTO BY GRANT J EVERETT

By Jean Claude

I started attending the Buckingham House day centre in Surry Hills back in 2008. Janet Meagher AM (Flourish Australia’s former General Manager Inclusion) connected me up with Buck House. This wasn’t the first time Janet helped me, though. In fact, I wouldn’t even be in this country if it wasn’t for her!

I first met Janet in 2004 through the Advocacy France organisation. I was living in Northern Ireland at the time, and volunteering with the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health (NIAMH) and Beacon Centre for the Blind. I was also part of a group called Live Better. When I told Janet how serious I was about wanting to emigrate, she offered her help. She said, “it’s difficult, but it’s not impossible, so we can try.” Even with Janet’s considerable help, I don’t think I could have moved to Australia without the assistance of my wife. I met her in Lightning Ridge during one of my crazy holidays in 2008, and by 2010 we were married. She has provided me with all the day-to-day support and practical care I need, and does all the caring and housekeeping. I really appreciate her. 

Continue reading “The man from Lightning Ridge”

Goings on in Griffith…and Leeton, Lake Cargelligo, Wagga Wagga, Narranderra…

ABOVE:Yes, it’s all happening in the Riverina and Environs. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY LETICIA FRANCHI

By Leticia Franchi, Mental Health Worker

We are sure our city readers sometimes wonder what sort of activities are available for people who access our services in “sleepy” country towns. So we asked Leticia, a Mental Health Worker for Flourish Australia in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area town of Griffith NSW, to give us a description.

On the Rampage

During February the Griffith and Leeton groups travelled to Lake Talbot in Narrandera, about 87kms from Griffith. There were three swimming pools, picnic areas and THE RAMPAGE! The Rampage is a big water slide which Autumn Pierpoint, one of the other Mental Health Workers at Griffith, was brave enough to try! We all had a great time swimming and our exercise guru, Gail Cummings, led a water aerobics class. Some of her moves had us all in stitches! After all the swimming we had some very hungry people. We organised a picnic lunch of bread rolls, BBQ chicken, salad and fruit, which everyone devoured. 

Continue reading “Goings on in Griffith…and Leeton, Lake Cargelligo, Wagga Wagga, Narranderra…”