RecLink Sponsors Surfing Group at Bondi Beach

By Krissy Gram

sportorama.jpgABOVE: Another day “at the office…” PHOTO BY KRISSY GRAM

In October, a group of us from Flourish Australia’s Buckingham House in Surry Hills went over to Bondi Beach for a surf! RecLink lined it up and so it was free for participants (thanks RecLink!). Conditions were great for learning, and it was a fun and successful day. We’ll be keen to arrange another surfing day in coming months.

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Flourish Australia Annual General Meeting 2017-18 Change Challenge and Growth

By Grant J Everett and Warren Heggarty 

AGM.jpgABOVE: Special guests Brendan and Judi talk to CEO Mark Orr about their experience with Flourish Australia (Full story in Annual Report) PHOTO BY NEIL FENELON

Giving the acknowledgement of people with lived experience of mental health issues, Annie Sykes called upon us all to remember not just those in the past who had ‘suffered in silence’ and even ‘died forgotten’ but also ‘those who roared’ and ‘our allies’ in the cause. 

Chair of the Board Prof Elizabeth Moore AM referred to Stephen Pinker’s book Enlightenment Now which says that there has never been a better time to be alive than now. He mentioned two elements of our age which detract from that: climate change and the prospect of nuclear war. Elizabeth suggested there was a third: poor mental health. 

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Community Advisory Council and Co-Design

by Warren Heggarty

CAC codesign.jpgABOVE: From left to right, Mark Orr (CEO) Mozzy Wilkinson (Chair, Parkes) Shane Bentley (Nowra), Dean Linley (Young), Graham Seaman (Emeritus mbr Armidale) , Caroline Dunlop (Emeritus mbr Bourke), Scott Gourlay (Taree, Deputy Chair) Matt Stonier (Emeritus mbr, Figtree), Phil O’Laughlin, Heidi Chan (Harris Park), David Sharp (Flowerdale, LIverpool), Simon Swinton (Hunter, back), Kim Donaldson (Bega, front), Debra Knight (Embark at Blacktown), Aaron Stevenson (Broken Hill), Matt Franks (Tamworth), Karen Prestwidge (Emeritus mbr, now peer worker), Kim Jones (Project Officer, Inclusion) Donna (Mozzy’s wife) and Fay Jackson (General Manager Inclusion). Not pictured: Deonny Zaroual (Figtree) PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY

The Community Advisory Council (CAC) met for two days on November 13th and 14th 2018.

Two new members of the committee were introduced; Debra Knight of Embark Cottage replaces Karen Prestwidge who is now a peer worker, and Normal Field from Marrickville. 

The main theme of this session was ‘co-design.’ In a nutshell ‘co-design’ is a method of living up to the old slogan ‘nothing about us without us.’ It’s the opposite of ‘tokenism.’ In the past, services for people with mental health issues have largely been devised and run by people who do not have lived experience of their own. Over time, people have begun to see that services work better if the people they are meant to benefit are actually involved in ALL stages of creating them. From the initial idea to the ongoing execution. Co-design was the topic of one of the presentations that Flourish Australia made to the 2018 TheMHS Conference. 

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All Inclusive Co-Design

codesign M wren.jpg

ABOVE: Michael Wren, Matt Salen, Fay Jackson, Kim Jones and Jade Ryall in Adelaide in August last year. 

By Michael Wren* 

My term on the Community Advisory Council finished in November 2017. Recently, at the 2018 Annual General Meeting I met Mozzy Wilkinson, the new chair of the CAC. Talking to him, I think that there is a bright future ahead for the CAC. 

In early 2018, Fay Jackson, Flourish Australia’s General Manager, Inclusion, asked me if I would like to take part in a presentation on Co-Design in Adelaide at the TheMHS conference. We had some meetings with Jade Ryall and others to prepare a workshop.

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Figtree Conference Centre wins Inclusion Award

figtree staffABOVE: Some of the team (from left) Jannah Chandler, Patricia D., Mark Anacki, Nancy Begley, Li Ern Soo, Fiona Thistlethwaite and Sue O’Rourke at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse on the evening of the awards. PHOTO COURTESY OF SUE O’ROURKE 

Figtree Conference Centre, a social enterprise of Flourish Australia, won the 2018 Western Sydney Award for Business Excellence in the category of Excellence in Workplace Inclusion. The other nominees in this category were Ronald McDonald House and Kurrajong Kitchen. 

The difference with Figtree Conference Centre is that every event hosted here contributes to positive social outcomes by creating a work culture where those on their mental health recovery journey can thrive. 

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Sabrina: How HASI Can Help

Sabrina.jpgABOVE: Mental Health Worker Sabrina Loiseaux PHOTO BY CIARAN MAHONY (TEAM LEADER HASI)

By Sabrina Loiseaux 

I’ve been employed as a Mental Health Worker at Flourish Australia’s Marrickville service for over a year now, but I’ve been with the organisation since 2013. I work with the people who access Marrickville’s HASI (Housing Accommodation and Support Initiative) program, a service tailored towards people with a history of mental health issues, particularly those who may need a little more support. 

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What is the Young People’s Program and who could benefit from it?

The Young People’s Program (a.k.a. Brumby House) is located at Emu Heighs, which is near Penrith NSW at the foot of the Blue Mountains to the West of Sydney. It offers a 12 month program supporting young men living with mental health and or drug and alcohol issues. 

According to manager Adelle Salter ‘We offer a safe environment in a recovery based residential home setting free from alcohol and drugs. We acknowledge that relapse is part of recovery and work in collaboration with both local area metal health services and our local area drug and alcohol support service NYDAS.’ 

‘We view ourselves as a step up program,’ says Adelle, ‘where you can come to us, get into a daily routine of taking care of yourself and your home, make new friends and access the community. You can work towards your individual recovery goals with the vision of empowerment from independence, leading the best quality life without limitations.’ 

Brumby house is for young people who have been diagnosed with a mental health issue, who are not acutely unwell or suicidal and do not have serious violence or aggression issues. They need to have a capacity to achieve independence, a willingness to address any current drug/alcohol issues and have a reasonable level of self care. They need to be willing to participate in the rehabilitation program and daily activities and be between 17 and 25 years old. Brumby operates from 8:00am – 10:00pm Monday to Friday and usually from 11:30am – 8:00pm on weekends and public holidays.