Home' Aurora : Aurora October 2013 Contents It seems a startling statistic that 3
million Australians are living with anxiety
or depression. That's more than one
person in ten according to beyondblue
-- an organisation established in 2000 in
response to the World Health Organisation's
prediction of the increase in depression
worldwide and its debilitating effects on
individuals and society. The chairman of
beyondblue is The Hon Jeff Kennett AC
and although there is a staff of only nine,
the organisation is known to the majority of
Australians. This is quite an achievement.
The well-known ambassadors for
beyondblue include motorsport champion
John Bowe, local broadcaster and author
Craig Hamilton, adventurer and filmmaker
John Cantor and television presenter
Jessica Rowe. Their work has ensured the
community has a greater understanding
of depression, its causes and effects, and
importantly, reduced the stigma associated
with mental illness.
The website www.beyondblue.org.au
has definitions and factual information
regarding depression and anxiety for people
of all ages and stages of life. There are
specific links for young people and older
Australians, pregnant women, new parents,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the
gay and lesbian community and people
from other cultures. Apart from explaining
the particular needs of each group, there
are many suggestions of how to seek and
establish support through existing health
services and the New Access program.
This program uses local coaches who
are trained and supported. They tailor
the program to groups or individuals and
connect them with existing services.
Personal stories of the beyondblue
ambassadors as well as 'ordinary'
individuals make the issues real and help
to reduce mental health misinformation
and stigma. There are links for family,
friends and work colleagues of those
suffering from depression or anxiety with
useful information to help in their support
roles. While treatment and support are
important, the website also focuses on
recovering, staying well and maintaining a
With the cost of mental health both for
individuals and the community rising, it is
reassuring to know an organisation such as
beyondblue is reaching out to those in our
community who need help and support.
The more understanding we have, the
greater the benefits to our community.
Faris is hovering in the jaws of death.
He and his grandmother are fleeing the
persecution of their government. They
have braved many dangers, escaping
to a refugee camp and selling all their
possessions to pay the people smugglers
for a passage to Australia.
Caught in a torrential storm, their flimsy
boat begins to sink. Faris is terrified. His
grandmother comforts him, instructing
him to dream of the life that awaits them
in Australia -- a land of beautiful, sunny
beaches on which friendly locals frolic, and
a cornucopia of tropical fruit is eaten for
breakfast every day...
Suddenly, the boat is capsized by a freak
wave, and Faris' world dissolves into
When Faris awakes, he is in the Australia
of his dreams. He and his grandmother are
safe and happy.
He discovers a beach, where he meets a
group of other children of different ages
and cultures, yet they seem to bond over
a simple ball game which they play on the
beach every day.
As Faris spends more time in his new
world he befriends the other children,
particularly a wise young girl named
Susannah explains that the beach
and its surrounding world is a Refuge,
where children can rest in safety whilst
they gather the courage to confront the
challenges life has thrown at them.
Will Faris find the courage to leave his
temporary haven of safety and confront his
fate? Will he persuade his new friends to
face the ordeals they have left behind? Or
will he spend eternity in blissful illusion?
Refuge, penned by Australian author
Jackie French, offers a unique perspective
on 'boat people'. It's fairly politically
neutral; however it reminds us of the
suffering that some people endure for the
chance to live in safety, and the fact that
Australia's history is rooted in immigration
-- even the Aboriginal people arrived in
Australia by boat.
Refuge is a well written, insightful novel
with a unique and unconventional
storyline, which is particularly relevant in
current times, when immigration and the
plight of refugees are significant issues.
Reading Refuge makes you realise how
Australia is, and always has been, a refuge
-- a home for brave people looking to
create new lives.
Eulalia Angeli is a Year 8 student at St
Pius X High School, Adamstown.
BY EULALIA ANGELI
BY MARGARET WALKER
Aurora on tour
If you have a photograph
that you would like to be
considered for Aurora,
please ensure it is high
Aurora was spotted at
Montserrat is a multi
peaked mountain near
CONTRIBUTED BY SR LOUISE GANNON RSJ
gratitude. It is the alleluia
point at which we learn to
understand that all growth
does not take place in
Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mn.catholic.org.au
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