"I’m Sam and New Image Laundry has helped improve my life"

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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

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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 .

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"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. 

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on hurry sickness and the power of slowing down.

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

In a world where connectivity is constant and productivity is associated with success, it can be hard to say no.

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

Struggling to say no to jobs, no to meeting up with people and even no to opportunities that we think we could accept but don’t really have the capacity to prioritise is something some people have difficulty with.

It’s what happens when you’re in a ‘hurry sick’ cycle. This pattern takes form in multitasking, rushing, and becoming irritated when obstacles arise.

The over-committed and fast-paced busyness of life with a lack of boundaries and unrealistic time expectations can contribute to a state of hurry sickness.

When people can lose the ability to stop and think, it can lead to an increase in errors, efficiency, direction. Most critically it can have long-term health implications.

While hurry-sickness isn’t a formal diagnosis, it is patterned behavior that reportedly increases your output of cortisol which can lead to burnout and depression. Moreover, staying in a heightened state of urgency and overstimulation can influence levels of fatigue, anxiety, and the ability to relax.

Identifying you’re in a state of hurry sickness can be akin to overcoming motion sickness, you need to slow down and stop. Stop rushing, stop being in a hurry.

Being able to say no to someone or something when you are at your limit is crucial to your quality of life and work.

You need to be able to prioritise yourself and interests with time. You don’t want to be too busy making a living you forget to live a life.

Practicing mindfulness to clear your mind can lead to personal and professional proactive leadership, rather than running on autopilot.

When you stop multitasking, you can start to question why you’re being asked to do something or why you’re spending your time on a particular project and whether it warrants the stress and immediacy you previously applied.

Prioritising work that is time critical rather than undertaking all the opportunities, projects or jobs with a perceived sense of crisis.

Briefly pausing to be present, in the moment not the thought, can have myriad benefits to your wellbeing, mindset and decision-making skills.

You must give yourself permission to take a break and know that there is support available.

Taking a break can take many forms, for some it can be as simple as saying you’ll get back to someone with a response instead of giving an immediate definitive answer.

It can also look like momentarily stepping away to regather your thoughts and composure if situations are heated or uncomfortable. For others it can be switching out language which is unnecessarily rushed – ‘I’ll pop out’, or ‘I’ll quickly get that done too’.

Some of the ways to practice mindfulness include breathing and tapping into your senses (stopping to breath for a minute and taking note of what you can hear, what you can see, what you can touch and what you can smell).

There are plenty of online resources you can access for information about mindfulness and breathing exercises.

Take time to experience life’s simple moments rather than just observing them.

When you slow down and identify what you value, it can become easier to say no to things that aren’t serving you.

Next week I will be focusing on how to determine your values and maintaining boundaries to preserve them.

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya focuses on wellness."

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

The notion of wellness is often aligned with good health; but it’s more than a state of health, it’s actively pursued.

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

It’s not necessarily a state of achievement, but the continuous work you do to maintain mental, physical, emotional, environmental, and social wellbeing to mitigate any negative impacts on your mental health.

Wellness to some may sound a little commercialized in the wake of a boom in holistic health businesses, retreats, or the likes. But when the concept is stripped back, it’s more about self-awareness and actively listening to your needs.

The world is unpredictable and often unforgiving, so you need to equip yourself with means to survive and thrive – like putting on sunscreen and a hat on before going outside to minimize UV exposure.

Self-care is the sunscreen for your mental health. However, to suggest it’s easy to apply would be naive.

Everyone is different, individually, and circumstantially – so you need to be kind to yourself when it comes to what wellness looks like and how you spend your energy and time.

Comparing yourself to others to a point of self-criticism rather than inspiration will do more harm than good.

You need to look inward to grow, and if you discover you need support you’re not alone.

While prevention is better than treatment, we understand how hard it can be to realize you need help, let alone get it.

IMPACT Community Services attended the recent Mental Health Select Committee’s Inquiry into the opportunities to improve mental health outcomes for Queenslanders public hearing.

At the hearing, IMPACT’s Health and Support General Manager highlighted the need for a simplification of the referral process; the importance of individual choice for provider; collaboration between support workers, business and clinicians for the best care, diagnosis, and treatment; and prevention – highlighting the need for wellness.

Until more support is streamlined and accessible, as individuals it’s important not to lose focus on what you can control and how you treat yourself.

There are plenty of anecdotes which optimize wellness in the form of self-care. A popular one is, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’.

Self-awareness is about knowing what fills your cup, what drains it, where you’re willing to pour and how much you have left.

Self-care is acting on this. A small shift in thinking and simple actions can begin to improve your overall wellbeing. It shouldn’t be thought of as something on your to do list, rather it should be enjoyable and meaningful.

I pick up leaves and flowers and water my gardens each morning as a mindfulness activity. I also pat my dogs as soon as I get out of bed, as an opportunity to be grateful.

For some people self-care is journaling, exercise, meditation, stretching or some form of stillness. For others it could be getting a smoothie or listening to music; whatever it may be for you, it should be freeing.

We often think ‘I have no time to focus on me’, or ‘there are too many other things that need my energy’. But the reality is that we all have enough time in a day - we just have to choose how we spend it.  

Self-care is individual and ideally something that brings us into the present. No planning for the future, no worrying about the past. Just being present with what you have in that moment.

So, how can you free up some time in your day to focus on yourself?

Each day, get into the habit of asking yourself, ‘What did I do to fill my cup today?’  

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 support services available to the region's youth and their family.

The start of a new school year can be an emotionally charged period at the best of times, let alone after a Covid-19 peak.

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

With local schools back in session, it’s understandable if there’s a heightened sense of anxiety and apprehension; but it’s important to recognise you’re not alone and there’s help available to navigate challenging times.

The gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic can be an enormous adjust for any individual and the region’s youth are no exception.

Young people are not oblivious to their surroundings; they can see and hear how social norms have changed since the outbreak of the pandemic.

And there’s support available at IMPACT Community Services and online.  

Digital resources like Head to Health have a wide range of information and advice available for parents and young people with regards to Covid-19 and other aspects of daily life.

While in Bundaberg, IMAPCT Community Services’ has a team of people who aim to improve mental health outcomes for children, young people, and their families.

Family Mental Health Support Services provides flexible, responsive options for children and young people up to the age of 18 who are affected by, or at risk of mental health concerns, and their families.

The FMHSS team offers short-term immediate assistance and intensive long-term early intervention support for young people and their families.

These services support parents to reduce stress and enable young people to reach their potential.

This includes providing evidence-based practices such as ‘The Brave Program’, ‘Bringing Up Great Kids’, ‘Drumbeat’ and ‘Seasons for Growth’ when necessary and applicable to children and their families.

IMPACT’s full host of support services are delivered with a wraparound approach that can be tailored to your exact needs.

We work with each person individually in a way that suits them.

FMHSS will accept referrals of children and young people from any source, including self-referrals, and conduct an initial brief screening process to ensure Family Mental Health Support Services is the appropriate service for them.

A formal diagnosis of mental health conditions is not required to access FMHSS.

For more information about IMPACT’s Family Mental Health Support Services click here or phone 4153 4233.

IMPACT’s headquarter is located at 108 Bargara Rd, Bundaberg East and open from 8am-5pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 4.30pm on Fridays.

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 taking care of your mental health throughout challenging times.

As 2022 rolls in ‘unprecedented times’ are quickly becoming precedented and it's important to mentally check-in and be kind to yourself.

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

Moving into the third year of living with Covid-19 virus among our society, you are not alone if you are not feeling as rested after the holidays as one may have hoped. 

As the pandemic continues to influence the way we live our lives, understandably you may be experiencing fatigue and burnout. 

However, it is important to focus on what we can control rather than what we cannot to minimize feeling overwhelmed.  

It is likewise important to stay informed by reliable sources and take care of your mental health.  

Being able to identify signs of burnout and effectively managing your mental wellbeing is vital in 2022.  

Beyond Blue outlined the following signs to look for with regards to burnout:  

Feeling mentally and physically exhausted; disconnecting yourself from the world and family and friends around you; being unable to focus on or perform even simple tasks (at work or at home); struggling to stay motivated and caring less and less; and becoming irritable or losing your temper easily with those around you.  

Building strong mental wellbeing can increase your resilience and provide you with the tools to navigate this changing world to best serve your needs.

Some of the building blocks to stronger mental wellbeing like health – getting enough sleep, eating well, drinking water, and exercising – come as no surprise.  

But it’s not always as simple as having a glass of water and getting your 8 hours.  

Being kind to yourself and others can also help improve your state of mind, as can identifying things you are grateful for, going outside and connecting with others.

Entertaining negative thoughts can be a slippery slope for your mental health, but when you practice positive thinking, it can have a more productive flow-on effect.  

According to information on Queensland Government’s mental wellbeing site, acts of kindness can trigger the release of oxytocin – stimulating areas of the brain associated with social connection and trust, “which makes you feel good”.

“Showing gratitude can improve your self-esteem, enhance empathy, reduce aggression and even help you sleep better.”

While social distancing remains important to reduce the spread of Covid-19; there are ways to connect with people and ensure you do not become negatively impacted by solitude without putting yourself at risk of contracting the virus.

Whether it be via phone, email, or video chat - you can reach out to friends, family and even health professionals to benefit your mental wellbeing in a responsible way.

IMPACT Community Services has a dedicated team working in mental health across Bundaberg, Burnett, and Discovery Coast regions. 

For more information on IMPACT’s mental health support services click here.

Remember if you are visiting the IMPACT site at 108 Bargara Road, East Bundaberg to wear a mask while indoors.

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 self-compassion.

Getting a break from work is one of the many perks of the holiday season, but there are still myriad pressures that come with this festive period.

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

So, this holiday season give yourself the gift of self-compassion.

You can give yourself a break and you don’t need to feel guilty about it.

On the surface this may seem like a silly or even fruitless notion – but I’m talking about more than simply putting on a facemask and going for a walk (although you should definitely do that too).

At IMPACT Community Services we understand the importance of taking your mental health seriously.

And we encourage our staff to do the same and take their self-care seriously.

It’s okay to take time to work out a self-care plan that works best for you in order to give yourself the best foundation to tackle the day and boost your wellbeing.

As per Dr Kristin Neff’s research, self-compassion is different from self-esteem, it’s not self-pity and it’s not self-indulgence.

Dr Neff’s suggests ‘instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?’.

It’s about being kind to yourself and giving yourself a level of understanding that imperfections/mistakes/suffering is part of the human experience and you’re not alone.

Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions is also key so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated.

Basically turning the compassion you would show a friend towards yourself – because you deserve it too.

Some of the exercises stepped out by Dr Neff for the practice include writing, changing your critical self-talk, identifying what you really want and taking care of the caregiver.

In taking care of yourself and allowing time, understanding and acceptance you establish a solid foundation of self for yourself.

If you are taking care of your wellbeing and showing yourself some self-compassion, you’re giving yourself the best mind frame to soak up the good times and handle difficult situations.

This can foster a greater sense of gratitude, love and appreciation – all of which are more powerful than fear.

Be kind to yourself this holiday season.

For more information click here.

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

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This weeks Tanya focuses on the importance of prioritizing your mental wellbeing.

It’s not selfish to take time for your mental wellbeing. You are worth it.

In fact, that’s the theme for this year’s Queensland Mental Health Week: ‘Take time – for mental health’.

COVID-19 has fueled a national conversation about mental health, and with tomorrow marking the beginning of Mental Health Week (October 9-17) – there’s no time like the present to hold space for mental health conversations within your home, your workplace and your community.  

One in five Australians are currently reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress. There is no doubt that living in regional Queensland has reduced our exposure to COVID-19 related mental health tolls that are beginning to surface for those enduring prolonged periods of lockdown.

Yet, living in Bundaberg does not make us immune to poor mental health.

According to statistics on Beyond Blue, one quarter of Australians will experience an anxiety condition in their lifetime. One in 16 Australians are currently experiencing depression. That’s more than 1million people.

The numbers show an even higher prevalence within marginalised and disadvantaged groups:

In a community like ours where there is entrenched disadvantage, we all have a responsibility to prioritise our mental wellbeing.

We owe it to our partner, our kids, our family, our friends. We owe it to ourselves.

Making mental health and wellbeing a priority is not easy, especially when you aren’t feeling your best. Creating resilience is key.

The good news is that there is support available. Online resources can be a good place to start as they can provide inspiration and suggestions.

For people in the Bundaberg and Discovery Coast regions as well as Kingaroy, IMPACT Community Services delivers mental health supports to help those in need.

In the last financial year IMPACT supported 153 people who faced a variety of mental health challenges.  

Our suite of supports has recently expanded with a wider diversity of services in place.

At IMPACT we focus on each person’s individual experience, their strengths and what is needed to achieve a better recovery.

If we don’t have the right support for you, we will work with you to make a connection into the right space.

Under the leadership of Jannene Thorn our team of experienced and highly-skilled staff are there when you need them to help improve your life.

They embody IMPACT’s commitment to the core values of being compassionate, empowering others, building trust in relationships, celebrating uniqueness, working together and striving for excellence.

Among the local Mental Health Week activities scheduled for next week is the Take Time event at the Bundaberg Botanic Gardens on October 14, where you can meet the IMPACT team.

From 10am­-2pm, this free community event will host a range of activities such as train rides, Tai Chi in the park, art in the park, a scavenger hunt, drumming activities and more as it seeks to break the stigma around mental health and acknowledge unpaid carers in our community.

Morning tea will be provided.

To connect to someone at IMPACT about the mental health support services available today call 4153 4233.

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

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya talks about mental health and the importance of breaking down the "busy" in life.

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

If there’s one thing I hear on a day-to-day basis, it’s that people are busy.

Busy in their jobs, busy in their social lives, and even busy during time at home.

I look back to when the COVID-19 lockdown was effective in our region last year, and while we were worried about what the future held, staying home provided many people with a feeling of relief.

People weren’t busy anymore.

Almost overnight the daily rush of life had been put to the side, and people were grateful.

Grateful to be able to take a breath and pause… and take stock of the small things in life; our pets, gardens, health, and immediate relationships.

I remember one mother in particular during that time who told me she no longer felt the pressure to “keep up with the Jones’s”, and commented on how nice it was to be able to have a weekend at home without any social interaction, free from the feeling of doing things just to please others.

But lately I’ve noticed people have slipped back into those routines of busyness.

The stillness has seemingly slipped away, replaced once again by the mad rush of the rat race. The need to be everything to everyone.

It makes me wonder if people realise the reality we have welcomed back into our lives, or if it’s something that has crept its way back in gradually.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to reflect on our wellbeing regularly to make sure that we are okay.

Are we feeling frustrated? Anxious? Sad or withdrawn? Overwhelmed, perhaps?

When it comes to mental health, most people do not have a huge vocabulary.

And for some, it can seem impossible to describe exactly how they are feeling.

Whilst this emotion word block is not uncommon, and it is sometimes easier just to categorise our emotions into large, non-specific categories such as “I’m good”, “I’m bad”, “I’m happy”, and “I’m sad”, diversifying your mental health vocabulary is important for everyone.

Checking in with ourselves allows us to keep on top of these feelings, and address what might be causing them.

Understanding how we are feeling and being to articulate it is just as important, and you can Google the ‘Feelings Wheel’ or the ‘Wheel of Emotions’ if you would like to find out more.

We all get busy, but if it’s having negative and ongoing effects on our mental health and wellbeing, we need to take a moment and ask ourselves why we’re choosing it.

If lockdown taught us anything it’s that we can say no to things that are too demanding of our energies, and the world won’t actually end.

Prioritising our mental health and becoming selective about our attendance at events are important steps towards achieving a balanced, happy life.

It’s not only okay, but necessary to take time to rest, recharge, and regather our lives.

I’ve said it before, but we can’t pour from an empty cup.

If you ever feel like it’s all getting too much, reach out to a trusted friend or family member who can be a supportive ear.

Often voicing our concerns and mapping out a plan of attack can relieve a lot of the stress we put on ourselves.

Alternatively, if more advanced advice is required, our mental health department offers a variety of programs tailored to differing levels of support.

For more information you can contact our Mental Health department on 07 4153 4233 or visit impact.org.au.

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