A Path to Follow


COVID CRAP and CONFUSION- The world Juxtapositions

Hey APTFers, I have been trying to work out why I cannot put words to the impact of COVID, from our very first lock down. CONFUSION AND CRAP OVERLOAD.   Now, in lock down 5, I have some sense of my distress; enough at least to share the confusion of it all with you… How are you coping?  Your family and friends?  APTF is still working during lock down and urge anyone requiring additional support to please reach out. In the meantime, see if this list resonates? Which do you tick off?  I would love to hear.   COVID CRAPPY JUXTAPOSITIONS We are all in this together                                                       Each of us is out for ourselves I have moments of great clarity                                           I have moments of complete overwhelm I am in total control                                                                         I have no control I care too much                                                                            I care too little I want to smoke less                                                                             I want to smoke more I want to go back to life                                                               I want to be isolated forever I want to drink less                                                                              I want to drink more I hate zoom.                                                                                       I love zoom Working from home is so convenient                                    1 more day working from here and I will go farking nuts Tomorrow I will…                                                                                                                 tomorrow comes:  ok when this lock down finishes I will …  I am getting unwell again                                                             everyone is struggling, this is not a sign. I am getting sick again defo                                                no it has passed- phew- I am going nuts…                                                                                 ok, so not a nuts day today …   And I write this from a substantial period of positive mental wellbeing. For those of you already dealing with challenges, I am here with you; I know this is so much harder for you. Reach out. Kirstie  

All about Perspective

Lived Experience in Mental Health

Professional/Lived Experience. Who decides? Who sets the arbitrary line to determine if or when I share my lived experience with my clients? Who decides if I use my lived experience in a way that is safe, for the benefit of our community and in line with best practice? Great question. The answer?  You. And you know what? A person’s rapport with a service greatly influences the effectiveness of it.  Of course it should always be you. APTF provides a customised balance of professional and lived experience in mental health to support clients walking their mental well-being journeys. We recognise the need for consumers to feel supported by a team who can connect and journey beside you; personally and professionally. My Experiences. Don’t box me in. There is a growing body of evidence and overwhelming community and professional support for incorporating lived experience in our professional mental health services. That is how we already practice at APTF. I am more than one experience and one perspective. Don’t box me in. I am a Consumer. I am Carer and I am Professional. During physical isolation I participated in Tandem and Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC)’s Royal Commission into Mental Health feedback sessions. Tandem represents carers of those living with mental health challenges. VMIAC represents consumers of mental health services.  I was also invited to bring “my perspective” to an Insta Live this week with the Discovery College. As a result of my participation and my Discovery Convo gig I got thinking more about my lived and professional experiences. How they serve my life long passion of supporting others in their mental well-being journeys. Consumer. Carer. Professional.  Three aspects of my life not looking to alter in the short term. Three aspects of my life I am proud to identify with. Three aspects of my life I know assists other people in their journeys as consumers, carers and professionals. Professional Limits A set of often arbitrary and ambiguous codes, discouraging the sharing of lived experience, were pervasive in my time working within the family and health services field. With time, I shared a limited version of my lived experience. The professional scene demanded a somewhat sanitised version, however. A stark difference to how these experiences played out in actuality. I felt disappointed and alarmed at not being able to share experiences that could help those who shared their vulnerabilities with me. Thanks to VMIAC, Tandem, Discovery College, other like organisations and passionate individuals, we are now looking at a new world. A new future where lived experience may take its rightful place in the mental health service system. A Path To Follow is already here; in the future. Our entire service is based on a customised balance of professional and lived experience in life’s challenges. We recognise there is a need and a place for all experiences to best support our community in their mental well-being journeys. The Right Balance But surely not everyone with lived experience is a good fit to provide such support I hear you ask? I agree and disagree. Fence sitter, I hear you say.  Yep, I agree with that. With appropriate desire, training, guidance and ongoing support, those with lived experience can support others in their journeys. Without those criteria fulfilled however, there are risks abound, for all parties. That is why at APTF, we provide the right balance of experience and customise a service that best suits the needs of our clients. Our Youth Mentors are not professionals, but they sure as heck have lived experience. They certainly tick off on the passion and desire. They are trained, guided and supported at all times, from both my professional and lived experiences. I understand risk. I am fully trained and experienced in assessing, working with and intervening in it. We practise with the best interests of clients at front of mind. We use a “do no harm” approach and constantly assess and monitor risk. Where our lived experience can be shared within the do no harm approach and in the best interests of our clients, then we will share. The Future I hope we are about to enter a new world where ALL professionals in the field are able share their multi faceted experiences. Where our clinicians can take the lead of Georgie Harman, Beyond Blue CEO, who speaks with honesty of her lived experience with alcohol and depression. Hearing the perspectives of fellow consumers and carers in recent times has only consolidated our approach at APTF as the right one for us. The feedback paints a service system where consumers and carers often feel disconnected from the clinicians caring for them. Very much a scene of “them” and “us”. We need to develop a “we” team.  All members on the same page, managing the same challenges, for a common purpose. A person’s recovery needs to take place with their chosen professionals, inclusive of that person’s family and community supports. A service that pays respect to and mindfully utilises lived and professional experience can attain all of that and more. I am very excited about that! I am also very excited we are already working within a model, providing services that our community is very loudly saying is needed. Professional and Lived experience; walking beside you. If you want more information about our services or are in a position to financially support our service, please contact Kirstie.

Resources To Assist with COVID-19: South East Melbourne Area

Thriving, not surviving, through the Chaos… Below is a list of services and resources for parents to support their young people through this time of impending self-isolation. Please be aware that some of the below services may close while others will move to providing online support.  If you are outside of this local area or experience troubles in accessing the below, please contact Kirstie directly. Get the right information It is critically important you responding to information that is as current and reputable as possible. At the moment this appears to be via our government sources. Please be mindful of what comes up on your and your child’s social media stream Federal Government Updates Victoria Government Updates Better Health Myth Buster Referrals to Services Local Council Services There may be some changes to the normal way these services operate, however, they are still operating and are best to be called if seeking specific support.  Generally their eligibility works according to resident’s proximity of where they live, work or play to the service. Glen Eira Youth Services Provision of one to one support. Glen Eira Youth Support Information Ph:  9524 3676 Kingston Youth Services Provision of one to one support (call to see if taking new clients) Kingston Youth Services Ph: 1300 369 436 Bayside Youth Services Provision of one to one support Bayside Youth Services Website Ph:  9599 4622 Blokes Psychology Psychology for Males of All Ages. Highett and Scoresby https://blokespsychology.com.au/ Local Community Health Centres Connect Health & Community Connect Health has counselling for all ages; pre-school to Older Adult. Connect Youth Services One to one practical supports and counselling. Connect Counselling Services One to one therapy; including Psychology, Social Work and Counselling. Ph: 9575 5333 Other Mental Health Services Headspace Bentleigh and Elsternwick One to one support for young people 12-25 years. Bentleigh Bentleigh Website Ph: 9076 9400 Elsternwick Elsternwick Website Ph:  9076 7500 Online Resources Reach Out Parents Self-Help Forums, Fact Sheets, Online Group Forums and one to one support options Help For Parents Young People Self-Help Forums, Fact Sheets & Online Group Discussions Help For Young People Go Zen For parents American site that has resources around managing stress and building resilience in your children (and yourself).  Below link is to a video series. I recommend the first one. Go Zen Anxiety and Covid-19 videos Eheadspace For parents and young people eheadspace provides free online and telephone support and counselling to young people 12 – 25 and their families and friends. If you’re based in Australia and going through a tough time, eheadspace can help https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/ Emerging Minds For parents Has reputable resources and options for online training around supporting young people’s mental wellbeing. Toolkit For Preparing and Supporting Kids Through Community Trauma Below video is a short video on supporting children through community disasters by Emerging Minds. https://vimeo.com/394049129 Article on how to talk to your children about COVID-19 The Conversation Article Sane Australia For parents General mental health resources, referral services and fact sheets for all ages. https://www.sane.org/ Beyond Blue Beyond Blue General Site Referrals and resources for adults. Beyond Blue Young People’s Site Referrals and resources for adults. Below is a link to Beyond Blue’s advice for mental wellbeing during covid. Looking after your mental health during Covid-19 Parent Line Telephone and online counselling service for parents with children 0-18 years. Parentline Website Ph:  13 22 89 Kids Line Telephone and online counselling service for young people to 25 years.  Also have great FB and Insta Accounts. https://kidshelpline.com.au/ Ph:  1800 55 1800 Life Line For cases of mental health emergency and suicide prevention.  Telephone, online chat and text service. All ages. https://www.lifeline.org.au/ Ph:  13 11 14 Need Financial Assistance? Emergency Relief Help Community Information & Support Victoria https://www.cisvic.org.au/ Glen Eira Glen Eira Emergency Relief Bayside Emergency Relief BAYCISS Other Useful Information Learning at home Scholastic Scholastic Learn From Home Modules Twinkl Online School Modules FREE-for short time-up to Year 10. The trusted home of teacher-created planning and assessment materials and teaching resources aligned to the Australian Curriculum. Online Modules Rebecca Sparrow I feel like my purpose is to help teenage girls traverse that tricky path from childhood to adulthood. My great passion is helping teen girls (and their parents) navigate high school friendships, have a more positive experience online and understand that despite what society tells them they are enough just as they are. Below is a resource compiling loads of home ideas shared by her followers. Rebecca Sparrow Learn From Home Modules Project Rockit PROJECT ROCKIT is Australia’s youth-driven movement against bullying, hate and prejudice. https://www.projectrockit.com.au/ Young People Wellbeing Webinars Self Care A collection of podcasts and poetry for however you’re processing or experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. Self Care Podcasts Steps to Self Care Center for Adolescence Studies on steps to self care at this uncertain times. Self Care Article A Path To Follow remains open via online video calls and telephone during this period for young people, parents and small business. See our service pages for more information and remember, our pricing can be subsidised for those experiencing financial hardship. © A Path To Follow. Not to be reproduced without consent of author.

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