Territory Stories

inBalance newsletter



inBalance newsletter

Other title

Mental Health Association of Central Australia


InBalance newsletter; E-Journals; PublicationNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.


Date:2008-12; Dated: Jul.-Dec. 2008




Mental Health Services -- Australia, Central -- Periodicals; Aboriginal Australians -- Mental Health -- Periodicals

Publisher name

Mental Health Association of Central Australia

Place of publication

Alice Springs


no. 18

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4 A penny for your thoughts ... ... from the editor IN COMPILING this bumper edition of inBalance, I am reminded of the all the good things people are doing around town, and in our Territory, and around the country. With many things in chaos around the globe (financially, environmentally and spiritually) its easy to become fearful and lose sight of the many good things that happen each daythe little things that make the biggest difference. Things that spring to mind include the new headspace team working incredibly hard to get the new youth service up and running; the Life Promotions teamand other dedicated teamsworking hard to help prevent and reduce suicide (definitely not a little thing but approached with great care to detail); Lynne passionately sharing her love of art, colour and healing in her Mandala Drawing sessions; Reclink providing ordinary yet wonderful sporting opportunities which greatly influence peoples wellbeing; and our vibrant friendly Em at front desk who makes everyone feel welcome no matter how her day is going. At MHACAs Information Sharing afternoon on 12 November, Claudia talked about a keynote presentation she attended by Antony Sheehan at the 2008 TheMHS Conference (see page 40) which highlighted that the key to the future success of service provision is personalisationtreating people as people. Taking the time to care about the personal things rather than hiding behind paperwork, policies or protocol. While we do need healthy transparent systems to ensure good practice and outcomes (otherwise things such as the global financial crash will occur) we also need to remember why we are working and who we are working on behalf. Im very grateful to work at MHACA because we have a dedicated team of workers who do care. As Felix writes in his touching farewell story (see page 56), They are good people: funny, friendly and kind. I like hearing how caring our support staff are when they talk to their clients and the people that drop in day to day. They dont rush or push. Even if they have a lot on, they intuitively know the importance of tuning in to where people are at. (Mostly, they are down-to-earth and know how to have a good laugh!) I am reminded of something Helen Glover said in our training workshop earlier this year: Never work ahead of or above the people you work with. No matter how distraught or different the person is, keep checking in with them. Everyone is doing the best they can for where they are at. It is one of the core things I learn (but not readily practice!) over and over in delivering the Mental Health First Aid course. Step 2 of ALGEEL is for Listen nonjudgmentally. (To find out what the other letters stand for youll have to book into a course!see page 19 for the 2009 Mental Health First Aid dates.) Yet, listening non-judgmentally is one of the hardest things to do. We all filter the world through our personal experiences and preferences, and it can be challenging to unconditionally accept where others are at but, it is where we have to start. Which brings me to the wonderful Dinner with Jonathon Welch we had during Octobers Mental Health Week. As the cover titleand message behind Jonathons success storysays, by focusing on the positive and eliminating the negative we can make a big difference. By believing in the abilities and inherent goodness of the marginalised people who came to form The Choir of Hard Knocks, Jonathon has helped these people believe in themselves again. For some, the journey really was from the gutter to the starsa true giant leap of faith. When I attended the international Margins to Mainstream Conference in September (see page 52), the highlight for me was definitely hearing The Choir of Hard Knocks sing at the Closing Ceremony. No pretense: just pure heartfelt emotion and vulnerability. Their willingness to do it differentlythe courage, despite many odds, to have a go. If we focus on the all the things that are wrong or negative, we may never leave our front door ... or we will keep perpetuating the cycle of negativity because thats what we focus on. Accentuate the positive doesnt mean nave wishful thinking, but means making wise, often hard, choices in the face of adversity. As the serenity prayer gently reminds us, focus on what we can change, not on what we cant. We cant undo the negative things that have happened in our world, but we can change our future and the way we feel by choosing to change what we focus on. Thanks Jonathon, for walking your talkfor believing in what can beand for inspiring many others to do the same. Warm regards, Rita Rita Riedel, Editor / Training and Promotions Officer Left: Singer Tanya Gordon inspiring students at St Philips in August with her story of courage and recovery from depression. Tanyas feature track on her latest CD captures her key message - Youre braver than you think you are.