Western Port Warriors football team on the field

The newly re-formed Western Port Warriors football team recently faced strong opposition by the Frankston Dolphins, when the two teams played at the Hastings football ground in Victoria. The game saw the highly favoured Dolphins come away with a convincing win, but the Warriors showed promise with a team comprised of Wellways participants, staff, members of the local public and even a few Dolphins lending a hand. AFL South East Football Development Manager, Cam Roberts, coached the Warriors on the day.

The game, enjoyed by over 100 spectators, featured a BBQ, face painting, handball competition, live music, raffles and plenty of interest in Wellways support services and programs.

The Warriors, under the management of Wellways, are now coached by Peter Cooney. New players are welcome, and the voluntary role of sports trainer and other key positions are currently available.

To find out more about community football in either Western Port or the southern peninsula, contact the Wellways Rosebud office on (03) 5986 0800.

Reflections on the AFL Mental Health Round in Gippsland

Farhat Firdous, a member of the Wellways Warragul Partners in Recovery team and recent settler in Australia, attended her first ever footy match between Buln Buln v Nyora, as part of the AFL Gippsland Mental Health Round.

“Being a part of the Mental Health Round, I realised that footy provides a platform for the whole of the community’s participation, without segregating people based on age, race or cultural background,” says Farhat.

“A footy match is equally exciting for a 6-year-old boy as it is for a retired footy player or a mother of two teenagers playing in the game.”

She added: “It was enlightening to talk to people who approached the Wellways display table, at the game, and talked about their experiences with mental health and how important it is to acknowledge the impact it has on people’s lives. A number of people indicated that footy, being part of life for a wide majority of people, serves as a great platform for awareness-raising and opening up conversations around mental health.”

The Mental Health Round originated in the AGL Loy Yang North Gippsland Football Netball League in 2014 and has since been developed by AFL Gippsland and the Gippsland Mental Health Alliance, with funding provided by the Gippsland Primary Health Network. Wellways Gippsland supported the AFL Gippsland Mental Health Round in collaboration with Latrobe Regional Hospital staff. The event also included an evening presentation with guest speaker Wayne Schwass, AFL player and prominent mental health advocate.

Tasmanian suicide prevention forum

Wellways recently presented at the annual Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network (TSPCN) forum in Hobart. This year’s forum, Taking Action: Innovation, Collaboration, Accessibility, reinforced the value of practice and research informed by lived experience. The forum featured presentations from speakers with lived experience, academics and CEOs of ReachOut, SANE and Suicide Prevention Australia. Topics included loss and grief, suicide prevention, digital mental health and innovative responses to a changing mental health sector.

Wellways staff Kelly Madden, representing the Grassroots Mental Health Program, and Charles Anderson, Intentional Peer Worker, facilitated a Creating Spaces and Places that Support Mental Wellbeing workshop as part of the forum. The workshop was based on the process Wellways has undertaken with neighbourhood and community houses across Tasmania for the Grasssroots Mental Health Program, which has recently had its funding extended through 2021.

Workshop attendees included community organisations, clinical and allied health professionals and community members. People shared what was working well in their organisations and how to make them even more inclusive and supportive of mental wellbeing, with discussion around ‘moving toward’ what was desired rather than being ‘stuck’ and unable to change their organisations.

Wellways was also represented at the forum by Tasmanin Regional Manager John Edwards, Southern Tasmania Area Manager Linda Carpenter and Partners in Recovery team member Sharon Wood.

Young Women Together

The Child, Youth and Family Engagement program (CYFE), on the North West Coast of Tasmania, has been fostering the creative and decorative talents of girls aged 12 to 18 attending the CYFE’s weekly Young Women Together group. Recently, the girls spent several weeks creating wonderful picture frames from scratch, using pieces of timber trim or other decorative materials. Each week saw them focusing on different aspects of design and production—doing sketches, planning photo (or phrase) content, cutting boards and trim, and finally painting and gluing the frames, with unique and charming results.

The Young Women Together group, held in partnership with Devonport Community House, assists participants with social skills, self-esteem, communication, identity and healthy wellbeing. Girls voluntarily come along after school to join in the activities and to share afternoon tea, enjoying a chat about teenage life and challenges. The current group has been running during school terms for the past year, with 10 to 12 girls attending each week from three or four different schools. In the weeks to come, the girls are planning to make dream catchers and have a pizza cook-off.

PIR Employment Assistance Program

The Partners in Recovery (PIR) program based in Frankston, South East Melbourne, recently delivered an ‘Employment Assistance Program’ (EAP) using the Camp Manyung facility at Mount Eliza. The program was run in partnership with South East Melbourne Primary Health Network.

The beautiful bush setting was the backdrop to the two-day program focused on assisting PIR participants (who have severe and persistent mental illness and complex needs) to get back into work, study or volunteering. Attendees of the program gained practical knowledge about writing cover letters and resumes and learned about presenting themselves for interviews.

The two days were balanced with indoor study and outdoor activities, as participants toasted marshmallows on the campfire, made damper and took the plunge on the giant swing, as they were hoisted 18 metres in the air and then dropped to ‘swing’ overlooking the bay.

Stories and laughs were shared, and new skills were gained by those who attended. One enthusiastic participant provided feedback, saying: “This program has given me the confidence to find a job that’s appropriate for me. I’m now able to send a cover letter that shows me off and is relevant to my skills and the company’s requirements.”

Wellways extends its thanks to all who made it possible for our participants to have time away, learn skills and have some fun.

Carers retreat at Tamar Valley Resort

Tasmania’s North and North West Family Services held a retreat last month for 14 carers at the peaceful Tamar Valley Resort Grindelwald. The group of carers, each supporting someone with mental illness or autism, had never attended a Wellways retreat before. The retreat provided them with an opportunity to take a break from their caring role, learn something new to assist them as carers and receive peer support from others. Guest speaker Rachel Gowland, NDIS Planner and Assistant Coordinator – Stakeholder Development, led an afternoon workshop and discussion about the NDIS, answering carers’ questions and providing information about NDIS eligibility and the application process. Carers were delighted with the retreat, commenting about “the right mix between education on day one and rest on day two”, and the opportunity for “a very enjoyable break.”