At some stage in our lives we will all be touched by mental illness. Whether it’s a personal battle, or something we witness a loved one go through, we’re here to reassure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
This mental health week, we want to help shed a more positive light on mental health. Hear first-hand from Natalie Lucken and Raelene Pappin, support workers from our Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) service on the Sunshine Coast, how we help people through their darkest moments.
“Every client is unique – each of them has different needs which requires different kinds of support. PHaMs is a recovery-based program, so we provide specialised support that’s driven by the client’s wants, needs and goals,” Natalie said.
“For example, the care and support we deliver to a 17 year old girl who wants to recover from anorexia will be very different to the care and support we deliver a 65 year old man whose wife has recently passed away and is now struggling with alcohol dependency.”
Raelene tells us the service walks alongside clients until they feel comfortable on their own.
“No matter what mental illness a client has, we believe everyone deserves a high quality of life and the ability to achieve their goals. We help people who are living with schizophrenia, bi-polar, depression, drug and alcohol dependency, and a variety of other illnesses, to lead happier, more independent lives,” Raelene said.
“The diagnosis is important, but it’s not the focus. We encourage our clients to be responsible for their recovery and to iocus on their goals.”
PHaMs client Shane Connelly was born with physical birth defects and has almost zero vision. Sadly most of Shane’s family have passed away which means he doesn’t have a lot of support in place for when his mental health starts slipping.
Fiercely independent, Shane recently finished his degree in business management and is already considering a masters, however is very aware of the times when he needs extra support and reaches out to Ozcare for assistance.
“Ozcare have given me the confidence that there’s someone there to back me up if I need it, and someone there to explore new ideas with and bounce things off,” Shane said.
“They’ve helped me out with the social side of things too by linking me into a number of social opportunities. We are currently looking into a computer club and I’ve put my name down for a volunteer position at a local radio station.”
“Ozcare have been a great support to me, helping me with my nutrition, my education and getting me out of the house. I’ve found all the Ozcare staff are very good.”
Both Natalie and Raelene feel strongly that mental health week is an opportunity to challenge stigmas surrounding mental health in the community, and to share hope, success stories, build connections and form stronger support frameworks within the community.
“We want everyone to know that it is possible to obtain a good quality of life while living with mental illness.
“There are many services out there, like PHaMs, that people can access when they need support. Mental health issues can affect anyone and asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.”
Ozcare offers a range of programs for those aged over 16 years who are struggling with their mental health. View our mental health services.