STRONGER TOGETHER: Building your personal resilience

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"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses building your personal resilience.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

There is no questioning that life is full of ups and downs. But why is it that some of us give into adversity and fall at the first hurdle while others are more easily able to overcome similar challenges and continue to thrive?

The answer lies in personal resilience.

Resilience is having the emotional strength to cope effectively with adversity, hardship and trauma. People who are resilient have the capacity to recovery quickly from or withstand difficulties that life throws at us, like financial stress, health worries, troubled relationships or relationship breakdowns, loss of a loved one or perhaps security and safety concerns. They utilise their resources, strengths and skills to work through setbacks and overcome challenges.

The good news is that personal resilience is something we can build over time. Think of resilience like a muscle – the more we exercise it, the stronger it becomes.

There are some great strategies we can use to help build our personal resilience. Building your personal cheer squad can be a powerful way to build up your resilience. Think of your friends and family, and make yourself a list:

I also encourage you to think about your lifestyle, and to consider what habits and rituals you can create to boost your resilience and wellbeing.  You can break your habits and rituals down into these sections

Finally, you can also zone in on your thoughts. What key attitudes and beliefs do you want to change? Think about what you want to focus on and what skill this will strengthen. For example,  I will focus on  … to strengthen ….

When it comes to building your resilience, don’t give up! In the words of Nelson Mandela, “do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week, in honour of International Women's Day, Tanya discusses raising girls to find self esteem and worth beyond their appearance.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

This Wednesday (8 March) marks International Women’s Day, an annual celebration that recognises the contributions, accomplishments and achievements of women and girls, and those who identify as female, across the planet.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to talk about raising our girls, and the role we play in moulding them into confident and capable women who have the skills to look beyond social media and society’s perceptions to truly embrace diversity in all its forms and to accept themselves as they are.

Our young people are stuck in an epidemic of body hate. As women – mothers, teachers, sisters, aunts – we hold great power when it comes to influencing how our girls and younger women see themselves.

Our world is superficial and full of messages about how we ‘should’ look, and this is affecting our children in greater numbers than ever before. Unrealistic and narrow beauty standards and suggestions that how you look is linked to your worth are incredibly harmful to young people’s self-esteem. We must help them to navigate this, and to find self-worth beyond appearance.

In March 2022, Dove released their report on the Dove Self Esteem Project, and the results were shocking. They found that:

While those statistics are scary, it’s not all doom and gloom! The report also highlighted the fact that 7 in 10 girls felt better for unfollowing idealised beauty content, and 80% of girls would like for their parents to talk to them about idealised beauty content.

Taryn Brumfitt was recently named as this year’s Australian of the Year for her work in the body image space. She says there is so much we can do to positively influence the young people in our lives and how they feel about themselves. She wants parents and those with influence over young people to recognise that kids hear and see everything, and in our homes we need to promote a safe space for them to flourish.

Our children look up to us. It is our job to model positive behaviour when it comes to the relationship we have with our bodies.

I strongly encourage you to think about how you talk about your own body in front of your children or other young people you have influence over. Try shifting your focus to the positive things your body can do and how you feel rather than focusing on how it looks, especially when it comes to your perceived flaws. Do you see exercise as a punishment or is moving your body joyfully your focus? Do you view food as an enemy rather than a way to nourish body? Are you openly critical when referring to certain parts of your body?

Body Image Movement and the Dove Self Esteem Project both have some great resources that can help you to discuss body image with young people, and it’s an important conversation to have.

As Taryn says, we need to be teaching our children to have a values system that is built on who they are and what they do, and that has nothing to do with what they look like. Embrace your uniqueness, embrace the individuality that you bring.


"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses JOMO - The Joy of Missing Out

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Have you heard of FOMO? Since the beginning of time, humans have wanted to feel included. Even though FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – was borne as a direct result of the explosive rise of social media, for some there is a direct link between missing out and an increase in their anxiety levels.  

When we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others (and let’s face it, thanks to social media, it’s hard not to!), it’s not surprising we can sometimes feel stuck in a constant FOMO cycle. There is, however, something we can do about it.

Enter JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out – the vastly underrated counterpart to FOMO.

JOMO is all about stepping away from self-comparison, being content with where you are right now, embracing the integration of life and work and proudly living life in the slow lane. It allows you to unshackle yourself from what you ‘should’ be doing in favour of tuning into what you ‘want’ to do.

But here’s the thing about JOMO – you can’t just flip a switch. To turn FOMO on its head and truly embrace JOMO, you need to intentionally and consistently make a series of changes to your daily habits that will reconnect you to your true self.

Here are some things you can do to have more JOMO in your life:

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the impact the cost of living crisis is having on mental health.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

If you are feeling like conversations about the cost of living crisis are consuming our news and social media feeds at the moment you are not alone. A simple Google search will provide you with 2.860 billion results in less than one second. Let’s sit with that for a minute.

2.860 billion pieces of information related to cost of living available to you within 0.44 of a second. Wow, is it any wonder that we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed by this?

Every day, the news headlines scream about interest rate increases, skyrocketing energy bills, reduced consumer spending and the rising cost of groceries. Last year, Suicide Prevention Australia’s State of the Nation Report found that the state of the economy was the number one driver of distress across Australia.

The report ranked the cost of living and personal debt as the biggest risk to rising suicide rates over the next 12 months by both the public and suicide prevention sector. This is the first time an economic issue has overtaken social issues such as drugs, loneliness and family breakdown, and it’s cause for real concern.

We know that the financial strain is real – every Australian is feeling the pinch on their purse strings, having to either find extra money or go without. And while each one of us is living with the daily burden of this additional financial strain, very few consider the toll that it’s having on their mental wellbeing.

Please take a moment to pause and consider whether your own mental wellbeing, or that of someone close to you, is being adversely affected.  

Mental wellbeing exists on a continuum, ranging from languishing to flourishing. At first, we might not recognise the symptoms associated with languishing. According to psychologist Adam Grant, some people may have trouble concentrating, perhaps feeling somewhat joyless or aimless. For others, they may experience a sense of stagnation or emptiness. The reality is that currently, 80% of the population can be experiencing languishing at any given point in time. This statistic is unacceptable, so what can we do to change this?

The Queensland Alliance for Mental Health are leading the way in this space, suggesting that a focus on mental wealth can shift the dial. Defined as ‘the collective cognitive and emotional resources of citizens, it includes people’s mental capital, their mental health and wellbeing which underpins the ability to work productively, creatively and build and maintain positive relationships.’ They believe that a mental wealth approach which values the wellbeing of its people will take seriously all levels of human distress, addressing it early with the expectation that it will prevent chronic and costly states of languishing.

There is no silver bullet to addressing the level of languishing being experienced in our community. We do, however, have the best opportunity yet to pull together and consider what we can do to support each other through these difficult times, whether that’s supporting local businesses, sharing what we have with our family, friends and neighbours, or being open to new strategies that will start to capitalise on our nation’s mental wealth.  

If you are struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out.

Counselling and Mental Health support

Lifeline: 13 11 44 (24 hours a day)
Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 (24 Hours)

Financial Counselling
National debt helpline: 1800 007 007 or www.ndh.org.au
Mob Strong Debt Helpline: 1800 808 488
A free legal advice service about money batters for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from anywhere in Australia.

Bundaberg man Josh Bridge is proof that a positive attitude can change your life.

The 22-year-old has turned his life around from unemployment and homelessness with the help of the three local organisations, a positive attitude and sheer determination. He says help is available to those who need it, but you must take the initiative and ask for it.

Josh was a boilermaker apprentice but after going through some family issues he and his partner went travelling. When he returned to Bundaberg the couple found themselves homeless and Josh was unable to get work.

With the help of IMPACT and yourtown, Josh and his partner have now secured a home and Josh has a Certificate III in Disability Support from IMPACT and fulltime employment at Without Limits Disability Support.

Josh Bridge has turned his life around with the support of IMPACT Community Services, yourtown, and his new employer, Without Limits Disability Support Services. He says attitude is everything, and you've got to ask for help.

From then to now

When Josh couldn’t find work, Services Australia put him in touch with a job provider who then referred him to yourtown, a transition to work provider.

yourtown’s Business Manager Karla Jurczakowski said: “When Josh met with yourtown, Job Placement Coach Bradley Weymouth took the time to understand where he was at and where he was wanting to go on his journey with us.”

Karla said Bradley was impressed with Josh's tenacity.

“Despite personal challenges, he had a clear direction on wanting to help people. Josh was referred to an IMPACT youth support program, where in addition to getting the support he needed, he was referred on as a possible candidate for a Certificate III in Individual Support – Disability.”

yourtown's Youth Worker Kylie Price assisted with obtaining Josh's Blue Card, Yellow card and a mobile phone, and the organisation also supplied a laptop to help with his continued study.

“When Josh was on placement, we kept in contact to ensure he had everything he needed,” Karla said.

“We were very happy in October when we were able to pay for his license, just in time to start his first paid shift.

"We are very proud of Josh and his resilience and perseverance, and while he has been too busy to keep in contact, knowing he is succeeding is fantastic.”

IMPACT’s Clinical Care Coordinator Jayne Watkins said Josh presented with a positive and open attitude from the first appointment.

"We wish Josh and his family all the very best in his career and want him to know we are always available should he need support again at any time in the future.”

IMPACT Trainer and Assessor Gay Wilson said when she met Josh she was shocked that someone so determined, intelligent and approachable was unemployed and living out of his car.

“Once class commenced it was evident that he was keen to learn and heavily invested in the material he was studying. Thankfully he was able to overcome the negativity and disappointment from his previous life and move forward,” she said.  

“Josh contributed greatly to class discussions and soon became a natural leader and mentor to other students.”

It was during his studies that Josh was introduced to Mike Hayman, Industry Lead at IMPACT. Mike said: “I met Josh as a student in the course. At the time he was homeless and there was a significant need for him to have employment to be successful and have a house. One of my contacts, Marie Blundell, was looking for someone at the time, so Josh went for an interview and blitzed it.”

Gay said she didn’t have to think twice when Without Limits Disability Support were seeking someone to fill a role – Josh was the perfect choice.

“I am very proud of the way Josh has turned his life around. He is now sharing a lovely home with his partner awaiting the arrival of their baby girl and living the life he has earned and deserves.”

Marie Blundell, Director at Without Limits Disability Support Services, said after hearing about Josh's living situation and gaining an understanding of his motivation, determination and work ethic, she couldn't wait to sign him up and hasn't regretted it since.

"To hear that Josh had gone through so much in life, was couch surfing and living in a car with his pregnant partner, and yet presented at classes, well dressed and willing and eager to learn, impressed me,” she said.

“Josh conveyed that he was determined to not go back and was motivated to give the disability industry a go because he realised that he wanted work where he could care for people."

“Already Josh is taking on responsibility for planning our Holiday Program and our Experiential Learning Weekends for young boys and has proved to be a very valuable employee.”

Attitude is everything

Josh was determined to not be a victim of his circumstances.

“I’ve had a lot happen in my life and I wasn’t in the best headspace. It was a really dark time for me. Getting into this course and putting all my determination and effort into get through the course and change my situation has put me in a better headspace”, he said.

“I’ve always had a positive attitude, despite all the tough times. You can only help yourself at the end of the day. No-one else is going to do it for me, so why wait? I’ve got to do it myself.”

Josh has recently completed his studies and now works 6 – 7 days a week. He is grateful for the services, support and encouragement that have been provided to him by IMPACT, Without Limits and yourtown.

“I’ve now got a house, my situation has changed from living in a car to living in a 4-bedroom house. It has been a full backflip, a complete 180. If it wasn’t for the services these guys have provided, I wouldn’t be sitting here today…. But you’ve got to reach out and ask for the help.”

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses asking for help when you need it.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

When was the last time you asked for help?

Many of us find it difficult to accept help from others, and asking for it can feel impossible. At times, it can seem easier to sit with our struggles, tell ourselves that things will be okay and bury our head in the sand. In time, problems solve themselves, don’t they? Sometimes, but not always.

The brutal reality is that you cannot do everything by yourself.

So why is asking for help so hard?

Asking for help demands that we show our vulnerability. Some strive to achieve perfection in every role that they do, measuring their success or failure in terms of the number of things that they can achieve. Some don’t wish to be a burden to others or fear that their request for help may be rejected.

It’s common to underestimate people and whether they will help us. Many of us grew up with the belief that it is weak to ask for help, instead believing that we should be able to get through whatever it is that is troubling us on our own, without help.

Sometimes we might not realise that we need a hand, or the support we get might not be quite the right fit, so we turn away from it. But when we do this, nothing changes.  

Now think about the last time you helped somebody; how did it make you feel?

Humans are hard-wired to help others. Most of us like to believe we are good people willing to be of service to others, so do not like to turn down a request for help. And let’s not forget that helping someone else is a huge boost to one’s own self esteem!

If you feel guilt or shame around asking for accepting help, I’d encourage you have a think about why this is.

Ask yourself some questions to help break down your barriers around asking for help:

It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to ask for help, and it’s there if you just ask. Be brave, reach out.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses how to rest for optimal wellbeing.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

How do you feel now that Christmas and New Year celebrations are done and dusted for another year?

You’ve had a chance to reflect on the past year and step forward into 2023, and it’s now a good time to take a moment to check in with yourself and feel what your body needs. At this time of year, many people feel like they need a good rest!

Many of us roll into each January feeling fluffy, lethargic and both emotionally and physically drained, even if you’ve had time off. Shouldn’t we feel rested, refreshed, and ready to take on the new year?

Festive burnout is very real, so January is the perfect time to rest and prepare for the year ahead.

But rest doesn’t mean you have to completely stop. It’s not just about crawling into bed and snoozing away to your heart’s content, though that’s part of the bigger picture. According to the Australian HR Institute, there are seven types of rest, and we need all of them to feel truly refreshed and well. Try incorporating these types of rest into your day-to-day life and notice if you feel an improvement in your energy levels and wellness.

Physical rest

Rest can be passive or active. Good quality sleep is important and having a solid sleep routine which incorporates waking up and going to bed at similar times each day will support your body’s natural circadian rhythm. For active rest, consider stretching or adding yoga into your daily routine.

Sensory rest

When was the last time you switched off all your devices? Most of us probably can’t remember, but being switched on 24/7 can be exhausting. Like devices, bright lights, conversations, and background noise can all play into sensory overstimulation. Unplug for a set timeframe, or in the middle of the day simply closing your eyes for a minute or two can help.

Mental rest

Is your mind constantly racing? Think of your brain like an internet browser – if there are too many tabs open, you can’t rest! Brain dumping can be useful in helping to quiet your mind. Keep a notebook handy – on your desk or on your bedside table – and take a moment to write down all your thoughts.

Emotional rest

Sometimes putting the world to rights with a friend or debriefing with a colleague can have a huge impact on your ability to rest, and your overall wellbeing. This can be particularly important if you work in a customer facing role where you are required to deal with people’s problems and be ‘on’ all the time. Brain dumping can also be a useful tool if you’ve got things on your mind.

Creative rest

Creative rest is about finding the wonder in life and getting inspired by the beauty of the world around us. Take some time to get outdoors and take it all in. Fill your living space and office with plants and hang some beautiful art that you love where you will see it often.

Social Rest

Do your relationships revive or exhaust you? Who are the people in your life who fill you with energy and fill your cup? Surround yourself with positive, supportive people and make sure you carve out time to be with these people.

Spiritual rest

Spiritual rest doesn’t have to be about religion. It’s about filling your cup through connection and feeling a sense of love, purpose and belonging, whatever that may look like for you. Community involvement, prayer and meditation are all wonderful additions for your daily routine that promote spiritual rest.

I encourage you to incorporate these types of rest into your day-to-day life so you can benefit from feeling more energetic and have a greater sense of wellbeing each day.

Samantha Russell is a proud new mum who works at IMPACT’s New Image Laundry.

Sam is an integral part of the team and has made incredible progress both personally and professionally in the four years since she started work at the laundry.

“Early in my life I developed a panic disorder which was quite hard to deal with. It got so bad I wasn’t comfortable leaving the house,” Sam said.

“Looking back, I was in a really hard spot, but I’m so proud of how far I’ve come.”

New Image Laundry is one of IMPACT’s social enterprises, designed to help people maintain employment by providing a supported working environment.

Laundry manager Daniel Leary said when Sam first started she was quiet, unassuming and had been unemployed for an extended period of time.

“Now, she’s just blossoming,” he said.

“It’s just wonderful to see how Sam’s confidence has grown – both at work and as a Mum but it hasn’t been without its challenges.”

There was a stage where Sam had given up on the ability to work and drive because she was too anxious.

“I thought about how we could help Sam, so I connected her with some of IMPACT’s other programs – Mental Health and the Cooee Group.

“One of our Mental Health Support Workers Wendy Lindeman really took Sam under her wing and guided her through the difficult time.”

Sam said IMPACT and the laundry team were extremely supportive and assisted her to get the help she needed to get back on track.

“The laundry staff are like a second family to me,” she said.

“I know that I’m supported here and that it’s a safe environment that I can come to, even if I’m having a bad day.

“IMPACT has helped me learn new and different skills, develop coping mechanisms and work through my challenges.

“It’s been great to talk to other people who face similar struggles and learn about what they do to cope.”

Danny said Sam has improved immensely over the last few years and is now a Quality Control Supervisor, which plays an important role in the business.

“Sam is great at what she does and is pivotal in ensuring the laundry is maintaining its customer base,” he said.

“Without quality, we don’t have customers and without customers, we don’t have a business.

“Sam is always the one that steps up and helps without being asked, she just takes it on her own shoulders.

“When you look at where Sam was four years ago compared to now, it’s truly a great success.

“Down the track I can see Sam being a wonderful mentor for people working through similar challenges.

“I’m incredibly proud of Sam and am excited to see what the future has in store for her.”

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses self care plans and why we struggle to enact them.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

The human capacity for creating and upholding habits and routines is incredibly fascinating – and the adoption of positive wellbeing practices, and lack thereof, is no exception.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

For the most part, we know what’s good for our wellbeing, physical and mental health, or we know where to find out more information.

We know that we should be getting adequate sleep each night, eating healthy, drinking water, taking time for ourselves – and yet, more and more people are feeling tired, burnt out and stressed.

What is contributing to this rising mental health crisis people are facing and are self-care plans the answer? Or do they simply add to the stress?

People know what self-care’s important and yet seldom is it enacted or upheld.

10 years ago, amid a busy professional and personal life with two children, study for multiple degrees and board services, I found myself completely exhausted daily.

It took my GP telling me a stroke weas in my immediate future if I didn’t address the effect that stress, and pressure was having on my life – so I got to making a change.

With wellbeing a constant practice in my life, I’m exploring what motivates and disciplines others. 

What I’m most curious to know now is, why? Why are people struggling to maintain and implement a self-care plan in their life when it is designed to make daily life a little less stressful.

Do we have a proclivity for self-sabotage, do we feel time poor, do we feel selfish for prioritising ourselves?

This is an area I am eager to investigate in an upcoming project and I would appreciate your help, should you’d be inclined to share.

Questions will relate to what you know about self-care and whether you actively engage in maintaining your wellbeing.

This is not a criticism, but an exploration of local perspectives on mental health, self-care plans, the challenges of a self-care plan, and what more could be done to make a bigger difference in your life?

If you would like to contribute, please visit www.impact.org.au and complete the survey on our home page at Self-care and wellbeing survey - Impact Community Services.

Having access to mental health support services can be lifechanging, and just because you live in a rural area, shouldn’t mean you are without access to help.

IMPACT is dedicated to improving lives and one of the ways we strive to do this is via our mental health support services.

We have been present in the community for the past 10 years, delivering different styles of mental health support. Our commitment to supporting locals is solidified with the opening of our own drop-in centre on 6/119 Youngman Street, Kingaroy.

The center will enable IMPACT to deliver our mental health program and give locals a safe place to share their lived experiences, meet people and a place to have a coffee and a chat if they are having bad day.

“Mental health support needs to be delivered in a way that connects with people in a rural setting,” IMPACT’s Mental Health Manager Jannene Thorn said.

“There needs to be flexibility in service delivery.”

The Commonwealth Psychosocial Support service is a recovery focused, strengths based mental health support program.

It aims to strengthen the capacity of participants to live independently, safely and productively in their community by focusing on capacity building via phone, virtual or individual and group settings.

CPS is for participants over the age of 16 with severe mental illness not accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The centre will be open from Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm with our Peer Support Workers eager to meet and help out those who need it.

To find out more about IMPACT’s mental health support services head to https://impact.org.au/support-and-wellbeing/

To contact the team, phone 0488 534 222 or email larnold@impact.org.au.

If you need help now, please see the parenting/mental health support contacts below:

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses self diagnosis and the dangers of social media influencers.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Generally, when people experience pain, they seek out medical advice. Unfortunately, in Australia we do not have enough GPs and mental health professionals to assist more than 26 million people, who at any given time, may be experiencing individual health care issues and needs.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

Current wait times for appointments with psychologists and other mental health professionals can be more than eight weeks. It’s not surprising that people are turning to Google and social media platforms, like Tik Tok, to self-diagnose symptoms associated with physical and mental health.

Sometimes, the self-diagnosis provides additional information that reduces unnecessary stress. Other times, it can leave us feeling more perplexed and anxious than when we started. The real concern is when people with previously undiagnosed mental health conditions are relying on information from uncredentialed sources to diagnose or form an opinion about their own or others’ symptoms.

Knowledge is power and I commend people for doing their own research and raising their awareness about mental health. Along the way, however, people have recognised social media as an opportunity to do more than share information and experience.

This is particularly relevant with young people, where uncredentialed influencers are using it as an opportunity to make money, which can, at times, come at the expense of providing quality, peer to peer content.

Some things to consider:

I applaud people taking proactive steps to research and seek out information. Unfortunately, however, we have a new wave of young people claiming to have a range of conditions based on content being shared by TikTok influencers – people who are being incentivised to be vulnerable and highlight unpleasant moments.

Peer to peer support is incredibly powerful, yet we must critically evaluate the credibility and the motivation of the source. And above all, never use the information to make a self-diagnosis and instead seek out appropriate medical advice for all symptoms.

If this topic has raised concerns for you please visit our Mental Health page or contact us during office hours on free-call 1800 179 233

Need help right now?

Parenting/mental health support

Domestic Violence Services

How to report a DFV incident Visit Police Website, CLICK HERE or for all other domestic violence related matters, phone Policelink on 131 444, 24 hours, 7 days a week .

Family and child safety

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the YOURCREW app.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

We know carrying something heavy is easier with support. Whether it be a helping hand from someone you know, a professional or it’s a group effort, it is easier to move with help. The same can be said for our mental health, particularly if you, your friends, family, or child are struggling.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

While it isn’t always easy to ask for help knowing someone is there and having access to support can be lifesaving - and it is exactly what the YOURCREW app is designed to do.

Amanda Riedel created the Harrison Riedel Foundation after her 13-year-old son Harrison unexpectedly ended his life in 2014. Amanda describes Harrison as a typical kid, who excelled at school and had lots of friends.

Mental illness however does not discriminate, and Amanda is passionate about ensuring that every young person has someone to contact, 24/7, with the aim of ensuring small issues do not become big ones.  

She believes that the power of having access to a trusted ‘crew’ can’t be understated, with the YOURCREW app “developed to remove barriers for young people to get help, to have a ‘crew’ and gain an understanding that they are cared for, that they are important, and they are not alone”.

All crew members accept an oath to help without judgement and within confidentiality (unless someone’s safety is in danger). The best part is that the app continues to be reviewed by young people, with their ideas incorporated to improve usability and access.

The app has several features including an emergency button with hotline contacts, a map of safe places including hospitals and police stations, check-ins via a range of emojis, image or written text, a calendar, safety plans, journals, an information hub and more.

If you know a young person, please download the YOURCREW app today and support them to establish their crew. Visit their website here.

‘All young people deserve to feel safe knowing that there are people who care about them’.

Harrison Riedel Foundation.

If you or someone you know needs help now, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on our basic needs as humans and overcoming challenges by supporting one another.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

The warmth of a hearty meal, a shower after a long day, the shelter from the change of season and a community that cares for others, is something we should all have this winter.

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director
Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

But across the country and in the Bundaberg region, people are experiencing homelessness as the housing crisis continues and people are finding it increasingly difficult to put a roof over their heads.

In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow coined his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” and it is undeniably prevalent nearly 80 years later.

Maslow’s theory breaks down five modes of needs for a person to being living their most authentic and comfortable life. Unsurprisingly, it starts with the physiological needs – what we need to survive. These foundational needs include food, water, clothing, and shelter, for without them it would be extremely challenging to priorities anything else.

The rising cost of living not only makes it difficult for people to afford shelter and food, but it can also take a toll on one’s mental health. 

The power of having a consistent and safe place to rest your head and full your stomach cannot be overstated and for those who may be struggling, it is vital to know there are services to help you.

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness or other difficulties, there is an information flow chart on IMPACT’s Community Navigators’ webpage with a breakdown of the various situations one could be facing and the appropriate support service contact numbers and addresses to help.

If you are in a position to help fellow residents who are in need, there are various organisation which take food donations, like the Angels Community Group’s Emergency Food Hampers. Angels is also currently calling for cups of soup donations to facilitate their cup of soup bar at the support centre on 66 Targo St.

As indicative of the title of this column, as a community we are ‘stronger together’. Providing donations or sharing valuable information can be key to helping people attain their basic needs and begin improving their lives.

Understanding wellbeing and resilience is not only a key part of overcoming challenges in your personal life, but also when it comes to finding and maintaining employment.

And that’s exactly what IMPACT Community Services’ new program WORKFit is dedicated to in the ADAPTABLE stage.

WORKFIT is a free and voluntary program comprising of 4 stages, each designed to overcome barriers and help individuals achieve their goals.

ADAPTABLE Mentor Jonathan Bailey said the course was about empowering people to take control of their lives.  

He said resilience wasn’t something that people were born with, nor was it a personality trait – which meant people eager to empower themselves could learn and develop this skill.

For Jonathan, resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity, to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and the ability to move forward when there is an opportunity.

Positive wellbeing is a crucial element to long-lasting resilience. He said the two went hand-in-hand to promote a healthier lifestyle aligned to your values and interests.

With a focus on wellbeing and interaction, Jonathan said over several modules, ADAPTABLE would cover the various facets of wellbeing, resilient practices to overcome roadblocks – whether they be from external or internal factors, workplace applicability – and when to put these skills into motion.

Jonathan said there could be various reasons people may be hesitant looking for a job; they may have had a difficult experience in the past, perhaps they’ve been met with rejection after rejection or maybe they’ve never had a job before and are anxious about what it would involve.

He said not only was improved wellbeing important when looking for work, but once you found a job that worked for you, it could increase your self-esteem and general mental health.

Jonathan said the program was client based to ensure each individual could be supported in the best way possible.

All our WORKFit services can be used in conjunction with other local employment providers for anyone who requires a little extra support.

These programs are available to residents in receipt of benefit. To find out more phone the WORKFit team on 0459 860 928.  

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on gratitude and finding happiness in the unremarkable things of life.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Amid the hustle of busy work and personal lives, happiness can sometimes feel like a pursuit, triggered by something pleasurable such as a purchase, an interaction with a friend or an experience.

When it comes to the experience or purchase, the bigger it is, the happier we believe we’ll be. If we could just buy that house, or car, or new suit, then we’ll be happy. Once I have a partner or get that job or have a child – then I’ll be happy.

Unfortunately, defining our happiness by moments created outside of ourselves isn’t sustainable. Ever bought a of piece of jewelry or new outfit, and then notice you’re still not happy, or your happiness is short-lived and you’ve moved onto something else?

This experience isn’t uncommon, it’s known as the theory of hedonic adaptation, which suggests people quickly revert to original levels of happiness after the novelty of the experience has worn off.

Zen practice suggests the greatest happiness can be found in the most unremarkable of things. Rather than trying to achieve happiness from materialistic means or external validation, we focus on finding a sense of calm and contentment in simple, everyday things – daily.

These are the moments often right in front of us, but their value is priceless. They’re our comfort, our sense of meaning, our feeling of peace and grounding.

Showing gratitude for what you have in your life can be a means to slow down the hedonic adaptation and experience more joy in your day. This awareness means you’re less likely to get caught up in a ground-hog-day mentality.

It’s stopping to smell the roses. For me it’s the ocean. Being near it, having my feet in it. It fills me with instant calm, peace, and happiness.

To breathe in and out, to be able to get out of bed, to pat your dog, to kiss your partner or child. As ordinary and unremarkable as these events may seem, these moments actually make life amazing.

Happiness is in front of us every day. We just need to pause and take notice of it. 

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