ABOVE: Flourish Australia’s General Manager, Human Resources, Tim Fong (left) and Manager, Peer Workforce Peter Farrugia (right) look pleased with the book ‘Peer Work in Australia: A New Future for Mental health. PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY
By Warren Heggarty
There is now an additional career pathway for people who are interested in becoming Peer Workers. Peer work is a formal job role that requires suitable qualifications and aptitude. Lived experience alone does not qualify you to be a Peer Worker. Flourish Australia has a reputation for being a leader in the field of peer work, and Tim Fong, Flourish Australia’s General Manager of Human Resources, explained how to find the right people for Peer Worker roles.
ABOVE: Lauren Nolan with her daughter, Hunter. PHOTO COURTESY LAUREN NOLAN
By Lauren Nolan
I started at Flourish Australia in February 2019, so I am very new to Peer Work, and support work in general. My background is in copywriting, content writing and marketing. About a year ago I started rethinking what I wanted to do as I was feeling incredibly unfulfilled at work.
At the time, I had a little side job as a Holistic Coach where I would support people who were stuck creatively, at work, or at home. I helped them develop tools to manage their lives better. It was great, however I felt limited with how far I could help them. It was then I decided to study counselling. I then stumbled across the Peer Worker role at Flourish Australia. It sounded too good to be true because it was so aligned with what I wanted to do. I had to apply!
ABOVE: Mel’s house. Insurance companies can decide not to sell insurance because of certain conditions, but the onus is on them to provide evidence to back their decision. PHOTO BY WARREN HEGGARTY
In the March quarterly issue of Panorama we featured several stories about self advocacy. As promised we now return to Mel, who, fresh from her battle with the ‘Government Body’ had to take on ‘The Insurance Company’ that refused to sell her mortgage protection insurance.
In 2017 I bought a house. It is not always easy to be in a position to buy a house. Especially in the expensive Sydney market. Especially if you are like me and live with mental health issues and a sensory disability that makes regular employment a challenge (see previous story in March 2019 Panorama). Still, I managed to do it!
ABOVE: Meeting up over a sherbet or two can be very therapeutic. Especially if you cycled there…PHOTO BY NEIL FENELON
By Warren Heggarty
In some environments, such as rural and remote areas, people can find themselves doubly isolated: both from the human connections that keep us all well, and from services that can support us in our recovery. Fortunately, Flourish Australia has over sixty services including throughout rural NSW and South East Queensland.
When people are unwell, they often withdraw from family and friends, and from activities they once enjoyed. But it works the other way round as well. Establishing or re-establishing connections will help us on our recovery journeys.
ABOVE: Milin and his Kawasaki. PHOTO BY GRANT J EVERETT
Tired of public transport? Perhaps a two-wheeled option might be for you. Peter Farrugia, Flourish Australia’s Peer Work Manger, and Milin Thaker, Accounts Payable Officer, discussed the pros and cons of motorbikes and scooters.
ABOVE: Mandarin Ducks are a symbol of success and longevity in intimate relationships. What is their secret? PHOTO FRANCIS C. FRANKLIN WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
By Warren Heggarty
Measure the health of an intimate relationship not so much by how you always agree with one another, but by how you deal with your disagreements.
At the beginning of relationships, (especially a romantic one!) people tend to go out of their way to please one another, so conflict may not arise. However, over time, disagreement and conflict will become inevitable.
In healthy and respectful relationships, people accept one another’s differences and try to understand the other’s point of view, even if it means ‘agreeing to disagree.’ It can be unhealthy if a person always tries to prove the other person wrong or change their beliefs or opinions. (Braun, 2018)