Home' Aurora : Aurora October 2013 Contents "Our people
are our strength"
WITH TANYA RUSSELL
Registered psychologist, Tanya
Russell, is CatholicCare's
Counselling Team Leader. Each
month Tanya will address an
issue. The advice provided
is general in nature and does
not replace ongoing support
and advice from your health
professional. To talk to someone
about counselling support,
P 4979 1172.
Email your question to
or write to Aurora-CareTalk
PO Box 756
QI feel almost at breaking point.
I have put up with so much in
my life and I constantly seem to
experience one setback after another.
How can I remain the strong person I
thought I was?
AIt is great that you identify yourself
with strength. This indicates that
you have worked hard to be resilient
with challenges that you have faced.
Resilience is the ability to 'bounce back'
and is a strong factor in living a fulfilling
and happy life. Building resilience requires
flexibility in thinking and acting. Accepting
changes in life can be really challenging
but recognising that change also creates
opportunities will enhance your resilience.
I see many people who believe they have
reached the "worst" low of their lives and
don't know where to turn. Although they
cannot change the past, they invariably
learn new skills to strengthen them for
future challenges. The opportunity for
improved mental health can arise, despite
Sometimes it is not possible to solve a
dilemma but do take small steps and set
achievable goals so that you are able
to see the progress you have made at
each stage. Try not to measure success
with the end goal in mind as that can
be overwhelming and deflating. Where
problem-solving is no longer an option,
find ways to nurture yourself, emotionally
and physically. Set time aside for activities
you find pleasant and relaxing and ensure
you maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.
If your self esteem takes a battering
due to negative experiences, look for
ways to build your sense of purpose and
achievement. Focus your energy and effort
into positive activities that also make you
feel valued. You could join a community
or physical fitness group, volunteer for a
charity or school, undertake short courses
or even join or form a book club. Take
some time to look at what you would like
to achieve in terms of physical and mental
health, personal development, finances,
leisure, spirituality... Is there one action
that would take you a step closer to your
goals? What steps could you take within
24 hours, within one week, within one
month and within three months? Focus
on one at a time and you will soon start to
notice a more positive outlook.
One of the most vital aspects of healthy
resilience is having strong human
connections. Do you have someone to
confide in? If not, don't keep your worries
to yourself. Reach out to family, friends
and neighbours. But if any of these are
the source of your worries, engage with
people outside your immediate network.
You may find some wonderful, caring
people in any potential group you consider
joining. If you are not sure where to
start, remember you can always seek
counselling support to help you head in
the right direction.
Stay hopeful because circumstances are
always changing. As long as you have
hope, you have motivation to make choices
with the potential for a more valued life. This
does not mean that you won't experience
negative events, but it does mean you can
see the situation for what it is, assess what
you can and can't control and make the
best of that situation.
Regional Manager CatholicCare Social
Services Hunter-Manning, Helga Smit,
reports on recent success at the annual
Manning Great Lakes Business Awards.
The Manning Valley Business Awards
evening is a gala occasion and this year
ended on a high note when CatholicCare
Social Services Hunter-Manning was
named winner for "Excellence in Social
Enterprise and Community Services".
The award recognises several years
of significant development in terms of
services and staffing levels.
When we opened our doors at Victoria
Street in late 2009, we provided a variety
of services to Greater Taree, Great Lakes
and Gloucester areas.
The Personal Helpers and Mentors
(PHaMs) program assists people over 16
whose lives have been affected by severe
mental illness to reconnect with their
Brighter Futures delivers targeted
early intervention services to vulnerable
families and/or pregnant women. Families
participating in the program receive tailored
support, including home visiting and
assorted parenting and children's services.
Counselling is provided for families,
couples and individuals, equipping
clients with strategies to develop positive,
stronger relationships and the capacity to
live safe and fulfilled lives.
Work and Development Orders allow
people to offset fines imposed by the law
through case management and in-house
courses and programs.
In 2012 Biripi Baby and Child Health Clinic
(Aboriginal Medical Health Services and
Hunter New England Health) opened,
operating from our offices on Thursdays.
We have just expanded this partnership to
include a weekly Antenatal Clinic.
As Regional Manager I firmly believe that
our people are our strength. CatholicCare
is proud of its knowledgeable, skilled and
passionate staff who serve the vulnerable
and marginalised, leading to life-changing
solutions for individuals and a positive
impact on the community. High staff
retention ensures continuous service for
The partnerships we have formed with
agencies such as North Coast TAFE,
Department of Education, Employment
and Workplace Relations and Biripi Baby
and Child Clinic have allowed a more
diverse portfolio of services to clients
across a larger area, especially remote
areas and the Aboriginal community as
part of 'closing the gap'.
It's not uncommon for visitors to
acknowledge the warmth and friendliness
of our office environment. This is neither
accidental nor insignificant, because
CCSS is not only welcoming to all comers,
it also promotes self care opportunities to
staff which culminate in a creative flow of
ideas and ultimately benefit clients through
innovative ways of making a difference.
This welcoming environment is being
recreated in our new offices at 32-34
Pulteney Street and you are welcome to
call in anytime.
Supporting our local community is a
priority. We demonstrate this through
our business dealings and strongly
encourage staff to 'be the change we
want to see'. Staff volunteer, for example,
with reading groups at local schools and
several are blood donors. We consciously
support Manning region businesses and
energetically participate in local causes
and events, for example, Biggest Morning
Tea, Biripi Baby Show, Hat Walk with
Rotary, Manning Community Connect
Day and NAIDOC and Child Protection
Being recognised for "Excellence in Social
Enterprise and Community Services" is
both a reward and a catalyst to serve the
community even more effectively at our
You may like to visit
BY HELGA SMIT
Helga Smit with the coveted award.
Photo courtesy of Manning River Times.
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
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