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National Commissioner for Mental Health, Janet Meagher will be speaking at a free symposium in Lismore on June 13 to discuss the benefits of involving 'Peer' or 'Consumer Workers' in mental health services. The symposium is designed to encourage local community service organisations to get involved with an innovative new approach involving Peer Workers that's changing the delivery of human services across Australia. Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin will open the event and presentations will be delivered by MIND Australia’s Honorary Research Fellow, Anthony Stratford and Lived Experience Project Manager, Gabrielle Le Bon.
A Peer Worker is someone who has a lived experience of disability, mental illness and recovery and uses their experiences to inspire hope in recovery for others. They are employed in organisations to work alongside people with mental health issues, disabilities, young people or families at risk. Studies have shown that peer workers improve rapport and communication between service consumers and staff, and achieve better outcomes for the community, as well as improving efficiency and workforce cohesion.
While involving Peer Workers is still a new model of service delivery, local organisations such as The Buttery, as well as other organisations across Australia and internationally have already successfully embraced it. In the Northern Rivers region last year, the concept was road-tested during the Lived Experience Project (LEP) out of which a "Lived Experience" program prototype was developed to help and support other organisations wanting to involve peer workers. This prototype will be delivered at the symposium and Janet Meagher will be join project participants and mental health and community sector representatives in a round-table discussion, sharing the research and evidence supporting the integration of Peer Workers into mental health services and the lessons learned from the project.
School staff and community workers from across the Tweed region will be attending a Keeping Them Safe forum in Murwillumbah on Wednesday, June 12 to learn about the impact of trauma on children and how local services in the area can work with schools to support families and improve outcomes for children who have experienced trauma. The forum, organised by Northern Rivers Social Development Council, Far North Coast Family Referral Service and the NSW Department of Education and Communities will include speakers from leading child trauma experts, the Australian Childhood Trauma Group and will be attended by NSW Keep Them Safe Coordinator, Deb Gavan, along with 50 school principals, deputies and teachers.
Recent research shows childhood trauma caused by sexual, physical, emotional abuse, family violence or neglect changes the brain in ways that impact on a child or young person’s ability to form strong relationships and regulate their emotions and behaviour. Research has also shown that children who experience or witness regular acts of violence have greater emotional and behavioural problems than other children.
According to Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC) CEO Tony Davies, having Lesbians On The Loose magazine hand delivered to the workplace had nothing to do with NRSDC winning a national LGBTI Pride in Diversity award last week.
Mr Davies accepted the Regional/Rural Award for LGBTI Workplace Inclusion at the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI) Awards in Sydney alongside human rights advocate Justice Michael Kirby and entertainer Bob Downe.
According to a recently released report "TTSS: The Shrinking Circle", one third of people with disability using the NSW Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) rely on taxis as their only option for getting around. With fare costs constantly escalating, getting around has become more and more unaffordable and now many people with disability are facing social and financial disadvantage.
The report was based on state-wide survey to gauge opinion from TTSS participants about its affordability. While the TTSS exists to alleviate transport disadvantage for people with a disability by helping them meet the costs of transport, the subsidy has not been increased since 1999, and now 40% of employed people have reported spending up to 30% of their incomes on taxis.
It's often easy to say what you don't like about how things are, but have you thought about how should they be? If you want to see a social plan for the future that takes into account what the community really wants, come along to a community forum in Brunswick Heads on Thursday, May 2 at 12pm and give your ideas about what our region should be like in the future. The forum will be held at Brunswick Memorial Hall and the ideas generated will be used by Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC) and Regional Development Australia (RDA) – Northern Rivers to develop a social plan for our region.
The Regional Social Plan will help change makers such as community groups and organisations know what's important to the people of the Northern Rivers region. Many concerned citizens and organisations are working toward providing services and making our communities better places to live in. If we can gather more evidence about what is important to the community, we can use this data to advocate and lobby government to bring about the changes we need.