Getting the Message Out

It’s been a long time since my last post, and that’s part of the story.  The everyday pressures of a normal life: work, study, family, health, etc. can lead me to the inappropriate conclusion that I don’t have the time to do the things that are beneficial to my health and sobriety.  Recently, I have struggled with my physical health, leading to reduced income and the associated financial stress, whilst trying to find a job in the mental health care or AOD sector.  During this period, I have been studying and continuing my volunteer roles. Consequently, I have not been exercising or journaling – two of the things that I find so helpful – and my mental health has suffered, leading me to do even less of the things that help!  Thankfully, I have now completed the first semester of 2018, so hopefully I can pick myself up and get back into my exercise and writing.

Recently, despite other issues, I have been fortunate to have been given a few opportunities to get the message out regarding the importance of consumer engagement in the recovery process.  Two of these came when I was asked to speak to management staff at the new University of Canberra Hospital, which is a rehabilitation facility on the UC Campus.  The mental health facility is a breath of fresh air.  Comprising 20 beds, split into pods of 4, each with it’s own kitchen, lounge and patio area, the space is more akin to a shared home rather than a hospital.  Hopefully, this should facilitate recovery.  There is also space for family members to stay in one of the pods, a first for Canberra I believe.  Residents will have access to gyms and shared outdoor areas, with opportunities for growing vegetables and other plants.  The ethos of the unit is to focus on the holistic health and recovery.  Whilst we are still woefully short of beds for mental health patients, this is a step in the right direction.

On Friday 8 June, I will be co-delivering a presentation to the Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (NADA) Exploring Therapeutic Interventions Conference in Sydney.  The presentation will discuss the work of the Community Advisory Group of Directions Health Services (an AOD service provider).  The CAG comprises current and former clients, carers and staff and is a forum for reviewing services and possible initiatives.  It’s a great opportunity to both repay Directions for the help they have provided and to Pay It Forward to help the people that are still suffering.

on Tuesday 12 June I will be part of a panel discussion on mental health immediately following a performance of Diary of a Madman at the Street Theatre.

This should prove to be an interesting evening of great theatre and hopefully stimulating conversation.  It’s been a few years since I last went to see live theatre (Yes, Minister at the Canberra Theatre in 2012 I think), so I’m looking forward to it.  I grew up around theatre and my first job was at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester, so it should be good.




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