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Bridging Loneliness with Nature and Community: Sharon's Story

Last updated:
05/02/2024

Please note: This podcast may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

In episode 8, "Bridging loneliness through the power of nature and community: Sharon's Story," we invite listeners on a profound exploration of healing and connection through the lens of Sharon's life. As an Indigenous woman who has navigated the challenging waters of loneliness and trauma, Sharon's experiences illuminate the powerful roles that both nature and a compassionate community play in the journey towards emotional and psychological well-being.

This episode is not just a story of personal triumph; it's a deeper dive into how reconnecting with the earth and finding solace in a supportive community can offer a pathway out of isolation. We explore the intrinsic bond humans share with nature—a relationship that transcends cultures and has been a source of comfort and recovery for countless individuals across generations. Sharon's narrative is a testament to the ancient wisdom that recognises nature as a healer and a teacher.

Furthermore, we delve into the essence of community—not just as a group of people living in proximity, but as a network of support, understanding, and shared experience. Sharon's story sheds light on the importance of being part of a community that truly understands and accepts one another, highlighting how such connections can serve as a powerful antidote to loneliness.

Listeners will be inspired by Sharon's resilience and moved by her journey from a place of pain to one of peace and connection. This episode aims to spark a conversation about the importance of nurturing our relationships with the natural world and each other, encouraging everyone to take steps towards bridging the gaps of loneliness in their own lives and in their communities.

Join us in episode 8 for an enriching experience that not only tells Sharon's story but also invites us all to reflect on the importance of bridging loneliness with the healing power of nature and the warmth of community.

Support services:
➡️ IMPACT Community Services: 07 4153 4233 or 1800 179 233
This service is available to residents of Bundaberg, South Burnett, North Burnett and the discovery Coast visit HERE to read more

➡️13YARN – 13 92 76
Free confidential service available 24/7 run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporters.

Other support services:
➡️Lifeline - 13 11 14
➡️Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636
➡️DV Connect - 1800 811 811
➡️Parent Line - 1300 301 300
➡️MensLine - 1300 99 78 78
➡️1800 RESPECT - 1800 737 732

It’s a big period of change for IMPACT Community Services’ Amy Griffiths.

As the new Team Leader of IMPACT’s Family Mental Health Support Services (FMHSS) in Hervey Bay, Amy is also looking forward to becoming an Australian citizen and using her skills and experience to help children and families in the region.

The FMHSS aims to improve mental health outcomes for children and young people, and their families, by providing early intervention support, short-term assistance, and community outreach and education.

IMPACT, which has successfully operated FMHSS in Bundaberg for 15 years, has recently taken over the contract to provide this vital service to the Hervey Bay and Fraser Coast region.

Last financial year, IMPACT’s FMHHS supported 110 short term and 39 long term clients, as well as an additional 342 people through group and community forum sessions.

Amy, who moved to Australia from New Zealand and fell in love with the Fraser Coast, is passionate about working with the youth and helping them overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

She will be based at the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre, where she and the FMHSS team will work closely with other community organisations and stakeholders to deliver the FMHSS program.

"I'm so excited. It's where my heart is, working with the youth...it's where my passion is," Amy said.

The FMHSS welcomes referrals from families, schools, health professionals, and other agencies and can be contacted by calling 0473 533 491, or visiting the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre, 22 Charles Street, Pialba.

Seeking help for your mental health is no easy feat, but it’s an incredibly powerful step to take.

Having someone to listen and support you can be invaluable.

It can go a long way in the face of hardship and mental health struggles, and it is what IMPACT Community Services’ Family Mental Health Support Services is dedicated to.

FMHSS support workers provide non-clinical support for children between 0 and 18 years-old who are at risk of developing, or have developed a mental health condition, and their families.

Whether you can identify you and your family’s needs or not, the FMHSS team is a brilliant starting point.

Our team can help with matters regarding anxiety, depression, social anxiety, suicidal ideation, sexuality, and gender identity.

If your needs fall outside of FMHSS expertise, the support workers will refer you to another organisation who can help.

Supporting families in the region to get the appropriate assistance is paramount for our team.

Within the FMHSS is a team of dedicated support workers who can help you identify potential barriers and help overcome challenges.

Each with their own varied specialities, family needs are tailored to within the program and the support worker themselves.

One of the newest FMHSS support workers is Leonard, who joined earlier this year.

No stranger to helping others, Leonard spent years aiding families in the Cherbourg community and is now looking to support families in Bundaberg.

For Leonard, trust and communication are critical, and it all starts with listening.

A lot of people have “shields up” and he said if you don’t listen and let them tell their story in their time, you can’t establish trust and how best to support them.

Leonard said everyone was different, some of which don’t know where the support available to them is.

Thus, listening and creating a judgement-free space was crucial to ensuring their actual needs are identified and met.

He said throughout his experience in this field, culture and family were close to him and his work.

Leonard said being part of a dedicated team and getting out in the community had been great since joining IMPACT. 

IMPACT FMHSS support worker Leonard.

With regards to mental health, Leonard said support workers aim to give clients the tools to achieve their goals.

Building independence and guiding people to unpack their challenges and achieve their goals by themselves was vital.

He said it was great to have an organisation with various support services available in the community.

“I think it would be great to have something like this everywhere,” he said.

“When you have a company that has a range of services in one place, it’s really great.”

He said anyone looking to access FMHSS can reach out as a self-referral.

People who access the FMHSS can have an initial six free weekly sessions and further long-term support is available for those who are eligible.

Support can include after school support which incorporates team-building activities, evidence-based programs, social inclusion, and anxiety busting activities.

The FMHSS can help re-engage school students and provide in-school support.

For parents, education and mental health awareness is offered to help break any mental health stigma and promote a healthy environment for everyone to grow.

FMHSS Team Leader Samantha said the positive influence of a support worker can have on someone’s life was priceless.

Whether it’s a trip to the beach, borrowing a book from the library, or having an honest conversation about identity, a support worker’s job is varied and invaluable.

For more information about FMHSS visit here, or phone 4153 4233.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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