By Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services' Managing Director
"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on the power of peer support and sharing lived experience.
People have been telling stories since the beginning. Sometimes it’s a conversation, other times we write them down, we paint, draw, sing, sign, listen and imagine.
It’s a powerful art and its value cannot be understated – particularly when your story shared can make a difference.
Positive representation and shared lived experience can make people feel seen, valid, inspire a sense of belonging, and most importantly assures people that they are not alone.
The influence of support, that comes from a place of genuine understanding and compassion, can be life changing.
It’s the reason why IMPACT Community Services values peer support workers.
Luke is one of IMPACT’s peer support workers who shared his story at our recent Annual Celebration in the hopes of helping others.
Working in the South Burnett, Luke left his job as a registered nurse after experiencing challenges with anxiety and stress.
While he wasn’t quite sure what the job with IMPACT meant from the advertisement, during the interview he realised he had something to offer through his lived experiences.
Luke said through his work at IMPACT, he couldn’t believe that he found a use for the challenges he had endured – to help others.
He said the work he does in peer support was one of the things he was proud to do.
“When I see that I’m actually helping others because I’ve shared my experience and I’ve been there, or I’ve been where they’re at and I’ve communicated that well and I can tell that’s helped them; that feels really good,” he said.
Luke said this work was also part of his own recovery journey which gave him the focus to continue and help others.
It’s people like Luke who personify our vision of improving lives at IMPACT.
Not only is his personal journey one of inspiring growth and courage, but it’s two-fold as he is using his time and understanding to help others improve their lives too.
To view Luke’s story or for more information on the support services available at IMPACT, visit our website.