Word from the CEO

Writing a brave new ending and contributing to a new and different story.

In recent months conversations around the rise of mental health issues have been growing. As we read the statistics, and people’s stories of struggle, we are often left unsure about what we can do. We want to support our loved ones, and perhaps get acknowledgement and help for what we are going through ourselves, but are still conscious that the community’s increased awareness and discussion about the issues, does not actually translate into people necessarily being more able to listen or to offer solutions. 

I was reading an article in The Guardian recently by Anna Spargo-Ryan, where she makes some interesting comments about the complexity of the ‘mental illness’ situation in our society today.  She made the point that ‘we are just not attuned enough to notice strangers with mental ill-health in the same way we might notice a knife sticking out of them’.

So often people struggling with mental health issues look the same as those who are not. We have become experts at putting on a front that protects friends and colleagues from the responsibility to support us in any extraordinary way, and also as Anna puts it, so often “the need for immediate care requires someone who is feeling God-awful to find the energy and courage to ask someone to make it better.” Nothing about this situation is easy. 

Creating a sense of safety within ourselves, let alone our families and communities around our emotional and well-being struggles is a complicated process, but it is one worth fighting for. When we deny our stories and our pain, often they begin to define us, but when we own our struggles and have the courage to share them, we at least have a chance of writing a brave new ending and contributing to a new and different story.

Selena Gomersall  | CEO

Look how you helped contribute to a different story for our outback communities

Thank you for helping our outback children soar!

The End of Financial Year is a crazy time as we try to come to terms with last year’s income, tax and spending - all while continuing to manage the ongoing  busyness of the present. We want to say an enormous thank you to all of our supporters, who included us in their thinking at this time. Some of those who contributed to the amazing EOFY gifts that we received have given to us for the first time, while others have come back to us as you reflect on where you would like your money to be making a difference. We are so very grateful for the gifts we received during this time. Most importantly, we want you to know that your support is contributing to real and lasting change in mental health and wellbeing outcomes in remote Queensland communities. 

Join us and take a look at what your support helped us achieve last financial year:

  • 3,486 remote Stay With Me video connect appointments delivered

  • 963 face-to-face appointments facilitated in communities

  • 5 community partnerships

  • 94% growth in our team size to ensure we could continue to meet community demand for our support.

  • 48% of client intake was for depression and/or anxiety related issues

  • 55% of clients were 18 years and under

  • 25% of appointments were with a Speech Pathologist

  • 41% of appointments were with a Psychologist or Counsellor

  • 16% of appointments were with a Learning & Literacy Specialist

  • 16% of appointments were with an Occupational Therapist


So from the bottom of our outback heart, we thank you all for your ongoing support. We couldn’t do this without you!

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Mt Isa Engagement

Tracey Cronin | Psychologist | Clinical Director

Embracing change can be challenging at any time, but particularly when recovering from unexpected and harrowing circumstances as faced by our North West families following the catastrophic flood event in February. With financial support provided by Alliance Airlines,  Outback Futures has been working alongside Mount Isa School of the Air, to provide a wrap-around service offering support, education and strategies to help encourage people to prioritise taking care of themselves, and their family’s mental health and emotional well-being.  Our engagement to date has initially been to support families in Cloncurry and Julia Creek, and in August we will be extending this scope to include families in the Normanton community as well. 

It has been a privilege to get to know families, hear their stories, and witness their sense of shared strength, courage, and hope in rebuilding and identifying their “new normal”, and pathways for the future. Amongst this quiet fortitude, there are stories of incredible loss and grief, and an awareness that these new beginnings are the first steps on a long tough journey to recovery. For many, taking time out to pause and reflect on the magnitude of their recent experience and contemplating an uncertain future, can be scary, and seem unnecessary, however in the long term, taking this time will give mind and body time to heal.  It is our intention to stay connected and continue to check in with families, combining face to face visits with remote phone and video support as they continue to rebuild and re-write their new beginnings. 

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Head Yakka Update

Peter Trask | Psychologist

Some of you may recall our recent article about the launch of the HEAD YAKKA program in the Barcaldine region. ….well we are on the move!

As we consider the focus of this newsletter being about a new and different story, I can’t help but get excited about the lead that the Barcaldine Regional Council is taking in considering what a new future might look like for the next generation of communities.  As we head into the next round table meeting, made up of representatives from the council workforce, the wider community and connected agencies, a rich combination of voices and perspectives is being used to devise the outcomes, the messaging and the priorities for the first phase of the program’s roll-out. We have a council workforce and a community intentionally thinking about the story they want their future to tell.

The Outback Futures team is inspired and excited to be partnering in this journey towards a positive difference in outback mental health and wellbeing.  So, a bit like a marathon race, it feels like we are well positioned at this early stage, but are conscious that this is a long-term project, and are looking forward to the next stages of developing the race plan, having more people join the team and together sharing in the emerging benefits and reward. Watching humanity work together to rewrite cultural and community story is an amazing privilege. We look forward to keeping you up to date on the progress. 

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Outback Futures & The Funding Network

In late May, Outback Futures had the privilege of presenting at The Funding Network’s Brisbane pitch evening. Generously hosted by Deloitte, CEO Selena Gomersall presented alongside two other incredible organisations, Library For All and Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness to a crowd of passionate and engaged philanthropists. We are delighted to share that across the three organisations, a total of $118,000 was raised and some incredible new connections were made.
We would like to express our deepest thanks once again to The Funding Network and everyone who made this night possible.

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Meet Lucy

Lucy recently joined the Outback Futures team as the Intake Officer. When you call the Outback Futures number, chances are you’ll be chatting to Lucy. Born in regional Queensland and happiest on her family’s bush property, Lucy grew up in the Gold Coast hinterland and moved to Brisbane in 2017. As Intake Officer, Lucy loves having the opportunity to be the first point of contact for Outback Futures clients, hearing their stories and helping them connect with the right Outback Futures team member. In her down time, you’ll find Lucy enjoying a good cuppa, hanging out with her gorgeous nephews and going for long walks in leafy parks. 

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