Outback Futures Enews: May 2018
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Not even a good cup of billy tea can relieve the pressures right now for so many of our clinicians and clients out west. Clinicians wondering if their job contracts will be renewed so they can continue to service the people of the bush, and clients wondering if the professional they have built trust and rapport with will still be around in a month’s time…. It is an untenable situation for any industry, but particularly for the area of mental health, where telling your story the first time is hard enough, and distance is sufficient barrier without bringing in concerns about employment and capacity.

There are many people in our rural and remote communities hanging their hats right now on the outcomes of a new parliamentary inquiry into ‘the accessibility and quality of mental health services in the bush’.  Labor and the Greens passed a motion on 19 March to launch the Senate community affairs committee inquiry to tackle these issue.

The inquiry will investigate the lower rates of access to mental health services and higher rates of suicide in rural and remote Australia as well as attitudes towards mental health services, the mental health workforce and challenges in delivering services.

Outback Futures was invited to make a submission to this Inquiry and is joining with our colleagues and clients in the wait for answers and hopefully some key changes to the inequity between city and bush provision.

Please be assured that Outback Futures clinicians are available for contact at any time with no referral restrictions and open employment contracts.

Selena Gomersall
CEO, Outback Futures

Team Profile: Alex Callins 

Alex joined Outback Futures as a speech pathologist at the start of 2018.

Starting her career in a busy Brisbane paediatric private practice in 2015, she then headed out west to explore the outback and worked in several remote communities around Roma and Mt Isa. This sparked Alex’s interest and love for the country and the people that live there.

In her spare time Alex enjoys camping, fishing, playing touch footy and helping out on her partner’s cattle property.
Clinic Reflection: Blackall & Tambo Clinic 2
As the newest member of the Outback Futures team I have spent a memorable few days on my first clinic in the Tambo-Blackall region.  It was exciting to be working as part of a very dedicated and dynamic multi-disciplinary team, whilst travelling and developing an appreciation of the remoteness and challenges experienced by families in our remote outback communities.
Working in such a hard-working and passionate team was an amazing process and a very rewarding one. Heartfelt gratitude to the local staff, children and families who welcomed us warmly and a ‘can do’ attitude amongst all players meant we could make things happen in a very organic adaptable way working with resources available and enabling last minute changes to happen as needed. Working together in this way helped us make every minute count.  This experience makes for a very rewarding work day, albeit a little fluid and hectic at times!

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to connect with so many in such a short period of time. Not only in the professional capacity in the clinic, but also for the chance meetings with a number of local people. Thank you for your interest in Outback Futures, and for your very warm and generous welcome.  I really appreciated hearing your stories and having the opportunity to connect with you in such meaningful ways. During these incidental moments, I truly felt connected to our vision at Outback Futures, and understood the magnitude of what we can achieve whilst working together and making a positive difference in the day to day lives of local people and their families.
I also found it very powerful to visit our outback communities and to experience the sense of landscape and connectivity to the earth firsthand.  It is humbling to appreciate the remoteness of your location, hear the stillness and also feel the warmth and strength in the sense of community amongst you.

Heartfelt thanks and I very much look forward to joining the team heading to Longreach for our next clinic in June.  May my learning curve be just as steep, but strengthen my capacity to build relationships, share our stories and renew hope. Our endeavour is to support you in finding your voice and seeking help when needed.  As part of the team, I look forward over time to working alongside other mental and allied health services established in the communities, giving us the opportunity to work collaboratively and continue to enrich mental and allied health services available in remote regions of Outback Queensland.

Tracey Cronin
Businessmen Go Bush
We recently had privilege of taking six very busy, high powered, business men on a 24hour immersion adventure, into the world and work of Outback Futures in the Central West of Queensland.
We are so appreciative of the fact that they were willing to give up precious time in order to genuinely learn about mental health issues in the bush and to find out how they might be able to connect themselves and what they do with the real needs of this region and the needs of Outback Futures as a service provider.

We didn’t give them just our take on the situation, but we introduced them to key players and stakeholders in the region from Longreach Deputy Mayor Leoni Nunn, and Chair of Central West Health and Hospital Service, Jane Williams, through to principals, teachers, engineers, graziers and clients from all walks of life and with all kinds of connections to Outback Futures.

These locals gave their perspectives on the issues and needs as they saw them, the strengths and weaknesses of the current situation in the space of mental/allied health and many of them generously shared their personal stories.
They were shown the sights by local Agribusiness consultant Peter Whip and treated to a camp oven dinner and the night in the Shearer’s quarters…

It was a powerful time for everyone involved.

I was deeply impressed by people’s willingness to come forward and courageously share their story. Hearing these people advocate for the power of help seeking and talking of the changes they are seeing in their lives and communities in response to their courage to step forward and take the plunge into support and healing, was profound.

Thank you so much to all who were involved at every level. It was deeply appreciated by the team at Outback Futures.
Help Seeking

Selena Gomersall
In my reflection on the ‘24 hour city immersion into the world of Outback Futures’, I mentioned how powerful it was to hear clients talking about the transformations they saw taking place within and around them following a courageous decision to finally ‘seek help’.
Help seeking is the process of finding and receiving support from others. We all experience tough times, but sometimes we can’t solve our problems on our own. Going through a difficult situation on our own can be stressful, confusing and exhausting, and often an external, objective and skilled perspective can turn things around.

Some potential barriers to seeking help can be:
  • Thinking a problem will go away on its own
  • Feeling embarrassed or afraid to ask for help
  • Thinking you will be judged, or should be able to sort it yourself
And so many more…

However getting outside, professional help, can offer you new strategies and ideas and can often be easier than you had imagined.
Some of the advantages of seeking outside help can be:
  • Feeling relief as your pain is ‘shared’
  • Finding new, creative solutions and ways to cope
  • Reducing your sense of isolation
  • Preventing things from getting worse
….and ultimately contributing to shifting a culture that is still wary of mental health issues and seeking help.

Modelling help-seeking as a valid and useful way forward when we are struggling, is a powerful legacy to be handing to the next generation. Every time one of us has the courage to step forward in this way, we are choosing to be part of positive and powerful change in the landscape of mental health understanding and solutions.
Breaking the Drought
The stats show that Outback communities are breaking up.
You could say they are reaching breaking point.
It'll break you heart, as it does ours.
Well here's some breaking news!
Outback Futures is breaking the mould.
Breaking down barriers to accessing mental health services.
Breaking out of the confines of low expectations around service delivery.
Breaking in to the hearts of the community, because they matter to us.
We reckon we're breaking new ground!
But we need you to give us a break.
It won't break your bank.
But you will get a tax break if you give.
So take off the hand-brake and give generously.

Every dollar helps.
All donations are tax deductible.
Click here to donate.
Copyright © 2018 Outback Futures, All rights reserved.

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