Outback Futures Enews: February 2018
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Welcome to our February 2018 Newsletter

I am so torn right now between the blatant reality of relentless and devastating drought and the messages of people like Belinda Condon from Antrim Station and Raeleen Whip from Royston Station. They remind us so emphatically that there is a remarkable capacity in our outback Queenslanders to hold onto hope and do what is needed to keep moving forward against the odds. Lindy and her photography spoke so loudly in the recent Queensland Country Life edition about how tough times such as long term drought can draw out creativity and innovative flair from the most seasoned of farmers. Lindy shared with me, and gave me permission to share with you the above photograph, and a video she made some time ago about this very issue -  Raeleen wrote the piece below with similar heart. Thank you ladies for a very clear and important message. 

Selena Gomersall  l  Chief Executive Officer
0417 703 729
Don't Let The Drought Live In You

For those who have been blessed with some good rain of late we are truly thankful with you, but it’s a tough gig finding a positive way forward the rain is allergic to your place and stays away in droves, and the prolonged difficulty can eventually lead to a sense of depression or despair if we don’t try hard to balance the bad and ugly with something good.

While nothing will fix this drought short of a good few inches of slow steady rain all round, I have a little strategy I use regularly to highlight good. I have found that deliberately trying to find time to nurture the part of me that loves creativity, that loves beauty and God’s creation, that instills in me a sense of positive accomplishment and happy satisfaction, and lets me grow and learn in a relaxed way, allows me a positive place to focus my thoughts on for awhile. It reminds that life is not entirely without brightness and life even in the middle of hard times. For me that thing is photography. No matter how dry and bare the ground and sky is...I can still find beauty and wonder somewhere through the lens of my camera. It feeds my heart and mind well and is a wonderful remedy to the soul eater we call drought.

Steve Grace, the gospel singer, visited my sister’s property up Aramac way and wrote these fairly profound words on her window "We may live in the drought, but don’t let the drought live in you".  Finding even one constructive thing you can do might help stay the drought from taking up permanent residence within you - find something to make your soul smile. Perhaps visiting or talking with a friend who will be sure to cheer you, cooking something you have never tried before, creating something beautiful in a handcraft, building something with your hands, do a crossword a day,  get away for a few days if you can even before it rains, learn a new skill, take an online course, plant some seeds in a pot where you do get to control the “rainfall”, start a blog. If however, you find you are in a place where you have lost motivation to try, then seek help.  There are people, places and services that can give you encouragement and hope. You might have to live in the drought awhile longer but find a way to stop the drought living in you.
High Stakes Competition, Bush vs City, Iconic Sporting Names and Faces, Great Food and Drink, and a Compelling Cause!

This April the Bulls Masters are going to be taking on the “Best of the Central West” in a grand exhibition match in Longreach, after spending time with local kids in a number of shires, and hosting a dinner to support Outback Futures and mental health in the bush.

“Batting for Better Mental Health” is an initiative aimed at turning the spotlight onto issues of mental health, helping local service providers connect with the community around this topic and launching the roll out of Outback Futures services across the RAPAD regions.
An event any cricket lover or sports fan won’t want to miss, and one that will hopefully be a key part of this new transformational program. Outback Futures are very excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Bulls Masters and the councils in this way, and are ready for some fierce competition, hair-raising cricket and a bonus evening of focussed fun and entertainment!

Mental Health and Well-Being Regional Role Out

Well 2018 is going to be a busy and full year for Outback Futures as we respond to the invitation from the RAPAD Board, and partner with WQPHN and others, to commence a four year roll out of our unique service delivery model across the seven West Queensland shires of Barcaldine, Blackall-Tambo, Longreach, Winton, Diamantina, Boulia and Barcoo.
It has been such a privilege to connect with the people of the Barcaldine region over the last 18months, spending time getting to know them and working with them to process longstanding bush cultural expectations and stories around help seeking and ‘mental health’ and empowering them to strengthen their community in the areas of health and well-being. We love bringing our team back into the Barcy area and reconnecting as often as we can and continuing to work with people remotely in between times.

One of the primary aims in this roll out is to help communities adjust and grow their community safety around help seeking, to support other agencies by filling some of the inevitable clinical gaps between demand and capacity, and ultimately to be supporting locals to connect effectively with the service providers they have on the ground in their region.  Crossing a shop front for mental health service is a tough thing to do at the best of times and we see a big part of our role as connecting with people who are finding this prohibitive, helping them to feel safe and supporting them into a place of being properly serviced.

Our teams are very eager to collaborate with some of the rural service providers already doing great work in these regions and to be learning and growing with these outback communities. It looks like being an exciting four years.

Barcaldine Resilience Clinic
20-25 March 2018

Hectic, productive, fruitful and fun!

Well what an amazing time we all had! A well orchestrated logistical plan had eleven of us leaving on Tuesday, 20th March from Brisbane in a pink plane to arrive in the small dusty airport of Barcaldine, to then be joined by four more team members the next day. The steamy 41° Tuesday afternoon proved quite eventful with a six minute mini storm cell passing through Barcaldine that caused some significant damage for such a short duration.
While half our team stayed in Barcaldine both Wednesday and Thursday to cater for clients there, I had the privilege of heading up two road trips to remote schools, experiencing a little of what it means to be driving in the bush and seeing vibrant small schools in action. Some of our team headed to Blackall on Thursday, to engage and connect with town leaders and community groups regarding how Outback Futures can best be of service in their shire and then the week concluded with some team members offering 24 hours of service and support in Longreach before the flight home.
In the evenings across this week various team members presented on parenting, mental health and the Business of Resilience, in what were inspiring and engaging presentations.  As I reflect at this end of the week, I thank God for safety in travel, for the relationships formed, for the support of local people and groups and for the wonderful health professionals and practitioners that are willing to travel each time and work so hard to provide some of the services to which we in the city, have such ready and easy access.

Another great clinic, and we are looking forward to the next one in March.

Wendy Phillpotts  l  Clinic Coordinator

Make a Difference

Fuelled by Passion ... but we still need petrol in the tank!

Outback Futures is passionate about delivering consistent and professional mental and allied health services to rural and remote Queensland. In our recent resilience clinics we visited Barcaldine, Jericho, Alpha, Blackall, Tambo, Aramac, Muttaburra and Longreach, travelling a distance of over 800km renewing hope, building resilience and strengthening communities. With petrol hitting $1.50 a litre we understand some of the challenges of fuelling our cars. Our latest trip involved 5 cars x 10 tanks fo fuel at $75 a tank. If you are passionate about vibrant remote and rural communities, why not sponsor a tank of petrol to ensure we can keep hitting the outback roads.

If you can fill a tank - please donate here and know you are fuelling our passion.

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