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ISSUE 5 Oct ’16 4-5 AM I OK?



Founder and Editor-in-Chief: TASHA BROOMHALL


Deputy Editor: SHARNA MENSAH


Editing and proofreading: SHARNA MENSAH




Contributing Photographers: CRAIG BROOMHALL NICKY GROBLER


Typesetting and internal design: CRAIG BROOMHALL SHARNA MENSAH



Cover photo of Amanda Stephenson courtesy of Nicky Grobler


Blooming Minds© 2016 All Rights Reserved. We encourage you to share the content of this e-magazine with others who you think may be interested. However to comply with copyright please ensure that information is only shared in its full form and with the credit given to the authors. The information, opinions, suggestions and ideas contained in this publication are based on the experience of the contributors and research information which is believed to be accurate but not infallible. All effort has been made to render this information free from error or omission. Whilst written and presented in good faith, Blooming Minds and the contributors assume no responsibility or liability for any loss or damage caused directly or indirectly from this information. The material cannot substitute for appropriate professional opinion, which would take into account individual factors, specific situations, environmental conditions or circumstances likely to influence actions taken or avoided at any time. Please be advised, this presentation provides general information only, and should not be seen as professional advice specific to any particular situation, problem or person. If you require assistance for mental health issues please contact your medical practitioner or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.



On 10th October we recognise World Mental Health Day. A day on which we work globally to reduce stigma and advocate for increased understanding of mental health needs as well as improved services and supports. However, on this World Mental Health Day we ask you to pause and reflect on an issue much closer to home … ‘AM I OK?’ In this edition we have articles to encourage you to reflect on your own mental health and wellbeing and ideas for developing your personal mental wellbeing plan. We look at disclosure of mental health issues in the workplace – your rights and responsibilities. We have also profiled services that support mental health for various age groups. zero2hero is a life affirming service for young people founded by the hugely inspiring Ashlee Harrison. If you’ve ever had any doubt about the impact that one person with a vision can have, then read about the work that Ashlee and her team are doing to educate and activate young people towards positive mental health and wellbeing. We are set to have a new generation of mental health revolutionaries on our hands! We were excited to interview our cover girl Amanda Stephenson, another awesome woman who took her personal experience with mental health issues and founded BlueBird – an organisation committed to providing community-based support for adults experiencing mental health issues. We also consider older people whose mental health and wellbeing is sometimes overlooked, but for whom positive connection and a sense of purpose in life is still vitally important. So please take the time to read, reflect and decide on one thing you can do this week to positively support your mental health and wellbeing. I’d love you to connect with us on social media or to email me to tell me what positive action you are going to take. 3 Want some more ideas for how to help yourself bloom? Watch here. Best wishes,



The annual RUOK day campaign has again centred attention on the importance of checking in with your family and friends and asking them if they are ok. With the recent release of 2015 data which indicate a national increase in the number of Australians who died by suicide, the message of positively connecting with loved ones has never been more important. However, as well as connecting with those we care about, we should also pay attention to our own mental health and wellbeing. So as we recognise mental health week in October, we ask you to pause and reflect on ‘AM I OK?’


Sometimes we are so busy working, studying, parenting, doing… doing… doing. And in this flux of responsibilities, roles and relationships, we may not be consciously considering how we are doing. It may seem self-indulgent to stop and think about how we are feeling. Instead we push ourselves to do more and more and more. However this is the perfect recipe for burnout, disconnection and increased risks to our mental wellbeing. Unfortunately many of us don’t think about our mental health proactively. But stop, reflect on where you’re at and how you’re going. Your mental health isn’t something that just happens to you. It’s not a passive process. It’s a very active process and how you are feeling is something that you can greatly influence. However it’s much easier to influence this preventatively than simply reactively. Close your eyes. Imagine a string stretching across the room that you are in, and on the left hand side of the room is the space where we are emotionally struggling, not doing well; feeling overwhelmed; emotionally distressed; not really well connected with others, and then over the right hand side of the room is where we are really thriving and buoyant! We are emotionally resilient, able to deal with the daily pressures of life, able to experience and manage our emotions really well. We are well and able to fulfil the roles that we choose to and are connected with others. Still with your eyes closed, I want you to imagine where you currently sit on that continuum. Are you down the left hand side? Struggling, maybe masking beautifully, but inside you recognise that you are not travelling well. Life has become a chore, you are feeling distressed, overwhelmed, disconnected, hollow, distressed a lot of the time. Or are you on the right hand side? You’re feeling fabulous. You’re strong and optimistic and resourceful and able to deal with whatever comes your way with confidence and you’re feeling connected and buoyant. So pause and consider, based on where you

are on the continuum, do you need support? There are so many ways to get mental health support now days. You can visit your GP (you can find more information about Personalised Wellbeing Plans on the next page), get a referral to a psychologist and look at holistic treatment options; there are many evidence based websites and books where you can get support – those based on cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy or mindfulness based practices can help you learn skills and strategies to improve your mental wellbeing; you can learn stress management strategies such as meditation. You don’t have to go through it alone. Get some help. Resource yourself with the skills and professional assistance to look after your mental health and to deal with any problems that may arise. Sometimes we need more skills or knowledge than what we currently have. If you had a heart problem you would see a heart specialist as they have the expertise to help you to get the necessary treatment and recover right? So with a mental health problem you should see a mental health professional to do the same. And if you find yourself at a point where you are feeling overwhelmed, or where you are having thoughts of suicide, take this seriously. If it was a loved one feeling this way, you would connect them with help. So do the same for yourself. Many people will have thoughts of suicide in their lifetime but you do not have to act on them. It can be scary to feel like you have no other way of dealing with what you’re facing. However help is available. You do not have to be alone. Get urgent support. A helpful resource is the Suicide Call Back service: 1300 659 467 Have compassion for yourself by prioritising your own mental health and wellbeing. Your mental health doesn’t have to be everyone else’s business, but it should be your own. 3

Tasha Broomhall


Getting Help A Personalised Wellbeing Plan Written by Tasha Broomhall

If you are living with ongoing mental health issues, it can be very helpful to organise the appropriate medical, personal and social supports that will help you to manage your illness, and to garner additional support when you need it. One way to do this is to arrange a plan that details the supports that you might need – both when you are well and when you are unwell. This plan can be called an Advanced Directive, an Illness Management Plan or a Personalised Wellbeing Plan. The title of the document is not important, but the intention and tools it provides is where the power lies.

The idea is that when you are well you gather together your main supports. This may include next of kin, medical practitioners, caseworkers from community services, your best friend, etc. You then determine a plan for what you will do to stay well, and what support and arrangements to make for when you become unwell. This information is then documented and all parties receive a copy so that should the need arise, they can work as closely as possible to your wishes. The principle of this plan is that you are able to choose your preferred care and support while you are well, increasing the chances of your wishes being met when you are unwell.

The sections to cover in this documentation might include some or all of the following: • The names of the people involved in developing the plan. • The date the plan is first written, and when it will be reviewed • (3, 6, 12 monthly reviews are a good idea as your circumstances and relationships may change). • What you are doing to manage your illness. • The signs that you might notice if you are becoming unwell. • The signs that others might notice if you are becoming unwell. • If someone notices these signs, state in the plan what they should do (supply a name and number of who to contact, and what actions should be taken). • Personal arrangements that you would like actioned on your behalf should you become unwell, for example: 1. Is someone nominated to continue paying your household bills so that you don’t get evicted or have the electricity cut off? 2. Who will collect and if necessary open your mail if you are in hospital? 3. Is someone nominated to contact your employer to request time off, and if so what words and language should they use to describe the situation? 4. Who would you like to have look after your pet/s if you are unwell or in hospital and unable to care for them?


mental health first aid

Are you engaging with a friend, colleague or family member with mental health issues?


to tell or not to tell... Employee Disclosure: Your rights and responsibilities

If you have mental health issues do you have to tell your employer about it? Do you have to disclose mental illness?

Essentially if the illness is affecting your functioning (and capacity to perform the core requirements of the job), then it is considered that you do have a responsibility to disclose the illness to your employer. However, many employees still choose not to if they don’t feel that it is socially safe to do so. The reasons why some people do not disclose mental health issues can be very simple, such as they believe that it’s not affecting their work performance and therefore is no one else’s business. Or the reasons can be quite complex and it can be a mixture of previous negative reactions and

therefore fear of discrimination, self-stigma or even lack of awareness of how badly their performance is being affected. Many employees do report receiving negative responses to their disclosure, however, others report that they felt they were treated well and fairly. All employees (including those with mental illness) are obliged to:

• Take reasonable care for their own health and safety • Take reasonable care that their acts and omissions do not adversely affect the health or safety of others • Cooperate with any reasonable instructions to ensure workplace health and safety


So how do organisations tackle this issue? The first step is to acknowledge that mental health is an important part of general health and as such all organisations will have employees who are affected at times. Not all employees with mental health issues will be impacted in their work functioning, but if they are, then it is important that they feel safe to disclose their issues. Through disclosure, the employer can work to meet their obligations to all employees and provide appropriate support, while still managing the organisation’s needs. When implemented, appropriate strategies can help greatly improve an organisation’s culture of mental health and wellbeing, to the point where employees feel that it is safe to disclose any mental health issues and get the support that they need. Employers are obliged to:

Not discriminate against an employee with mental illness: Disability discrimination legislation requires employers to ensure the workplace does not discriminate against or harass workers with mental illness (either directly or indirectly). This extends to making reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of workers with mental illness.

Ensure health and safety: OHS legislation requires employers to ensure the workplace is safe and healthy for all workers and does not cause ill health or aggravate existing conditions. Ensure privacy: Privacy legislation requires employers to ensure personal information about a worker’s mental health status is not disclosed to anyone without the worker’s consent. Avoid adverse actions: Employers are required under Commonwealth industrial law to ensure the workplace does not take any adverse action against a worker because of their mental illness4. The organisation itself needs to: • Support the individual where required and • Provide frameworks, direction and information to leaders so that they can respond appropriately, while still balancing operational requirements. 3

Tasha Broomhall

The first step is to acknowledge that mental health is an important part of general health


SUICIDE PREVENTION PROGRAM Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians under the age of 44. On average, we lose one young Western Australian to suicide a week. zero2hero are a Western Australian association whose mission is to prevent that.

At the age of 20, CEO Ashlee Harrison lost her step-father to suicide, and was compelled to focus on suicide prevention through founding the zero2hero association. Upon noticing a gap in education before the point of crisis, she began facilitating educational programs for young people in 2012. Their research has found that over 90% of children seek support from a friend first when they are in need, which is why they have developed programs to empower youth to know how to effectively

manage their own mental health, and be able to support a friend if needed. Events such as zero2hero day and Camp Hero equip school-aged children and teenagers with the skills to speak up when they are struggling and the confidence to stand up and support their friends when they may be experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, bullying, self-harm or suicidal thoughts. 3

Sharna Mensah



THE STATS 33% of young people will have an episode of mental ill health by the time they are 25 25% of young people experience a mental health problem in any year 47% of Australians will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their life 75% of mental illness is formed before the age of 25

zero2hero are PASSIONATE ABOUT: • Providing a space to talk about mental health • Reducing the stigma of seeking help • Empowering young people to be the best versions of themselves • Empowering young mental health ambassadors • Effectively and innovatively contributing to the prevention of suicide.


Healthy body. Healthy mind - food and physical activity play a big role in mental health Challenge negative self-talk Learn to manage your emotions Spend personal time offline (camps are phone free) Gratitude days and journaling Mindfulness and silence



This edition we interviewed Amanda Stephenson the founder of Bluebird (formerly GenWHY?) to learn about how people experiencing anxiety and depression can get help for themselves.

Why and when did you start Bluebird (formerly GenWhy)? I founded GenWHY? after I was diagnosed with depression at 27 and struggled to find support and services for adults over 25 years of age. Being diagnosed with depression completely changed my whole life, I was a naturally positive and motivated person, I had my five year plan, my dreams and goals and they were all taken away from me in a very short space of time. I had to move back home with my parents and begin the process of rebuilding my life. It was a very slow, frustrating, soul searching experience but with a lot of therapy, support and changes in my life I eventually recovered and could manage my depression. I then became determined that no one else struggling with a mental illness would have to struggle to find support the way I did, and no other parent would have to struggle to find support for their child the way my parents did. An article and column in The Sunday Times in 2009 highlighting my struggle was the catalyst for Bluebird (formerly GenWHY? Support Group) and with the help of Connect Groups we started a community support service for adults over 25.

Whats its purpose? The purpose of Bluebird is to connect people with the support, services, information and resources they need to manage their mental health. We aim to support at risk and vulnerable adults to live a positive, fulfilling life with a mental illness. By ensuring people get the right help at the right time we are also assisting to decrease the suicide rate in WA and relieve the burden on the already over stretched mental health system. Bluebird is a small organisation with a big vision: To be Western Australia’s leading provider of psychologist led, peer supported services championing adult mental health and wellbeing.

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become� Carl Jung


What does GenWhy offer that isn’t available elsewhere? Bluebird is one of the only support groups in Western Australia that is psychologist facilitated and specifically for adults over 25 with anxiety and depression. We provide fortnightly psychologist facilitated peer support groups in Perth and Fremantle, monthly social events for members to engage in the community in a safe environment and quarterly wellbeing workshops to give members the tools they need to manage their mental health and wellbeing. We also have an optional peer network for members to access in between our fortnightly support groups and allow members to tailor our service offering to their current needs. We provide a personal touch in a professional environment and have a 48-hour response time for all new enquiries via our Member Administrator. There is no wait list or referral process however we do have a robust screening process to ensure the safety of current and new members.

What do you wish people knew about to better support loved ones with mental health issues? Great question! I wish people knew where to access the right support and services that their loved one needs and also where to find support and information for themselves as carers. My parents and family were amazing but they struggled to know what to do, what to say and how to help me, as well as where to find the extra support that I needed. It made the journey so much harder for all of us and founding Bluebird was a catalyst in my recovery. I remember finally feeling like I belonged and wasn’t the only one struggling with a mental illness. So I would encourage everyone to ask themselves this question “would I know what to do if my brother, sister, co-worker or best friend came to me and said I think I might be depressed, life just feels dark these days, I am really struggling” And if you don’t know what to do, who to call, or where to get help – find out.

What sort of people access services? Bluebird is primarily for adults over 25 with anxiety and depression. We also invite carers/support people to attend the first two sessions with a new person as we know the benefit of carers gaining an understanding of what the person is going through. Our support groups have a variety of people attending from students, to those engaged in fulltime work, parents, and individuals, and people who also access supported accommodation and community services. The support groups are made up of 60% female and 40% male from 60 postcodes across WA. There is an amazing comfort and support you can only get from those who have shared a similar experience and it’s always heart warming to see members from diverse backgrounds finding common ground and supporting each other. interview continues...

Photography Nicky Grobler


What are your plans for the future? We would love to increase our services to weekly support groups and expand our services to cover all suburbs of Perth, rural and regional areas, Western Australia and then Australia wide. We know there are so many people in WA who are vulnerable and at risk right now and in order to reach more people we need funding, donations and support from the local community and corporate organisations. We envision Bluebird becoming a leading authority on adult mental health, we are currently working on our program evaluation tools and IT systems to ensure our service operates as efficiently as possible and with maximum benefit for our members. We are also developing a Member Ambassador program to identify members who would like to step up into a leadership role within the support groups. The next big step would be to develop an annual weekend wellbeing retreat for members with a range of workshops and services including yoga, mediation and mindfulness, nutrition and cooking classes, psychologist seminars and exercise sessions. Essentially we want Bluebird to be a valuable service long after people have recovered from mental illness.

What are your tips for looking after your own mental health? Yoga and meditation! I only started yoga after I was diagnosed with depression as I needed something to slow down my mind and it has changed my life. It is the one time I get to just give back to me (which is so important). I also do daily affirmations to keep my mind positive and meditation once per week. Planning is also key for me as I still have the habit of filling up my diary and getting burnt out, so I now look ahead at the week and ensure I only book two outings during the week and have designated “Sacred Sunday” – one day of the week with no commitments. It is so

refreshing to wake up and think “what do I want to do today”. Exercise is also key for me and so beneficial for your mental health, I love a good long walk to clear the head, weights and a couple of gym sessions per week. I also choose my attitude on a daily basis, I think that going through a mental illness you learn how powerful your mind can be so I try and harness that every day, I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore, keep things in perspective and choose to see the positive in any situation.

What do you wish workplaces knew? Mental Health First Aid. I wish workplaces knew how to have conversations around mental health and how to stay mentally healthy in the same way they do physical health and safety. We need a culture of making it ok to say “I have a mental illness” and know that there will be no shame or stigma or impact on your job, just support and acknowledgement and assistance. And its not just at a management level, it is everyone’s responsibility to look after each other at work, at home and in our community. I wish workplaces invested as much in Mental Health First Aid as they do physical first aid. And again I believe that workplaces need to know what other services are available for their staff outside of their organisation or EAPs, there needs to be continuity of support between workplaces, the community and the mental health system. For enquiries about Bluebird services please contact: Connect Groups 9364 6909 And find use here: BluebirdMentalHealth/ To donate or talk about partnership opportunities:


Do you have a favourite quite or saying? “This too shall pass” really got me through some hard times, when I felt like life was not worth living anymore and every day was a struggle I used to say “this too shall pass” and it helped me get through that moment. I also have the quote “ today I am grateful for…” framed and on the wall as a daily reminder of all the good things in life. And I like the Carl Jung quote “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become” Anything else you would like to tell us? I truly believe that with access to the right support, services, treatment and actions people can overcome a mental illness and live fulfilling satisfying lives. I never thought depression would happen to me and it completely changed my life, but I now see my struggle as a blessing. I am happier, healthier, stronger and have found my purpose. I want people to know that they are not alone, that help is available and if I can recover from a mental illness then anyone can. I am determined to raise awareness, decrease stigma and change the face of mental illness in WA but I cant do it alone, if people can donate to us or would like to get involved then contact us via our website. 3

Tasha Broomhall

Perth Support Groups

runs fortnightly Tuesdays 530pm

Fremantle Support Group runs fortnightly on Thursdays 530pm Dates are being confirmed for Bluebird’s upcoming wellbeing workshops with Act Belong Commit and a nutrition and exercise session – check our website for details.



and when they want? Find out more with our new online course Mental Health in the Workplace for Leaders plus in-house training options.

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Get positive examples of how to achieveDo thisyour managers and supervisors know with our how to appropriately respond to mental health issues in their staff? Demonstration Video Pack.


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Through this seminar participants will:


• have increased awareness and understanding of the common mental illnesses of anxiety, depression and of psychosis

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• obtain awareness of their roles and responsibilities when responding to mental health issues in the workplace


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return on investment Are your managers confident to talk about mental health issues and provide appropriate support in your workplace? Get positive examples of how to achieve this with our Demonstration Video Pack.

Tasha is the Director and lead facilitator for Blooming Minds. She has been providing mental health and wellbeing training programs throughout Australia for more than 16 years. Holding a Principal Master Trainer status from the MHFA Australia program, Tasha is accredited to deliver the Mental Health First Aid program. She has delivered this renowned course to more than 200 groups over the last 11 years, including: teachers; psychiatric nurses; HR personnel; mental health consumers and carers; aged care staff; disability staff; vocational rehabilitation providers; case managers and various government departments. Tasha’s work has been recognised with the ICCWA Suicide Prevention Award in WA and recently as a finalist in the national Life Awards for Excellence in Suicide Prevention. Tasha has published a number of books focused on both personal and workplace mental health, including her latest entitled “Bloom at Work – A Mental Health Guide for Leaders”. She is currently completing Masters of Mental Health Psychology. Tasha has a keen interest in reducing stigma about mental illness and increasing mental health literacy in our communities and workplaces. She has developed our workplace wellbeing programs to assist people to take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing and to act proactively in supporting the mental health of those around them. Her aim is to help organisations to successfully balance their business needs with the individual needs of their employees. Blooming Minds provides group training and individual consultancy services to assist organisations to understand the impact of mental health problems in their workplace and to minimise the human and economic impacts of employee stress, anxiety and depression.


FOCUS ON YOU Dr Fiona Wood is a woman of many talents and maximises every possible opportunity to put them to good use. She became instantly known worldwide when the tragic events of the 2002 Bali bombings unfolded, with her team working day and night to care for badly burned victims. It was during this time that the “spray on skin” cell technology pioneered by Dr Wood was used extensively and, in recognition of this work with the Bali bombing victims, Fiona was named a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003. Understandably, she describes this time in her life as brutal, with the workload, emotional toll and the travel hours extreme. Every time Dr Fiona Wood is faced with performing surgery, she painstakingly creates a map, which allows her to consider every aspect of each patient, internal and external. She does this to

ensure the “quality of the outcome is worth the pain of survival” for each and every person. Being self-responsible is vital to peak health and well-being and designing your own map could be useful in your own journey to achieve a quality outcome.

Environment of Care

For Dr Wood, the environment of care could vary widely from a bombsite to a hospital bed to the scene of an accident at the side of the road. In your own life when taking selfresponsibility and contemplating making changes to your health behaviour, assessing your own environment is crucial and this may include: • Reviewing your work hours • Identifying external stress triggers and how to eliminate them • Cooking facilities and access


• Shopping routines - proximity to grocery outlets or access to technology for online shopping • Access to facilities, clothing and equipment to enable exercise • Sleep – routine, conducive sleeping environment/equipment • Financial situation • Weather • Stressors What else is going on around you? Your environment may change many times over a day or week and being aware of each scenario means that you can adapt and plan accordingly. If you let cold winter weather control your decision to exercise or continue to work long hours to the detriment of your health and family life, the environment is controlling you. Your internal environment can be more complex and can include: • Psychological well-being • Physical injury or immobility that may hinder your ability to exercise or shop for and prepare food • Fatigue • Internal motivation • Own values and beliefs

Skill Set

Fiona Wood is a highly skilled burns specialist and has spent many years attaining this expertise. Equally, she has a talented team surrounding her. A few questions to ask yourself include: 1. Are you aware of the skills required to steer your health in the right direction? 2. How will you find out what skills you need? 3. If you don’t possess these skills, how can you get them?

Does it mean engaging a personal trainer or finding an exercise buddy, seeking out help from health professionals such as your GP, Dietitian or Psychologist? Or is it upskilling by learning meditation, taking cooking classes, doing a short course or further studies? Information is only a click away and it is yours to access.

Your Whole Person

When Dr Wood is assessing a patient she looks not only at the person needing her expertise but the other people whose lives are significantly impacted or entwined with them. This may mean spouses, children, parents, siblings or extended family and close friends. Ask yourself the same question. Will the people in your own life enable and support you in your own journey to better health and performance? How will they impact you and you impact them by making these changes? Improving the quality of your life and reducing your risk factors for chronic disease or having enough energy to play with the kids after a hard days work are all worthy outcomes. Of course, let’s not forget feeling good about yourself, being happy with your body and feeling fit and strong. These are great results not only for yourself but also for the people that care about you. 3

Julie Meek

A nutritionist and dietitian, Julie Meek is one of the most respected sports dietitians in australia with over 15 years’ experience in public, sports and corporate nutrition.


how yoga changes your perspective on life “I really should do yoga” Yoga tends to conjure images of stretching and relaxation but there is much more to this ancient practice. Yoga’s rich history is thousands of years old. As well as practices to keep your body healthy and relaxed, yoga offers meditation, pranayama and philosophy to focus and develop your mind. Be curious about these other limbs to yoga help you stay motivated and inspired. Better to practice a little, often Research shows you’ll get better results from yoga if you practice a little, often, rather than a lot in one go. While a yoga binge in Bali for a week feels great while you are there, the effects don’t tend to last. Make yoga part of your routine by finding a class that’s easy to get to. Sign up for the term so you are more motivated to go regularly and do five or ten minutes each morning in between classes to make it a habit You’ll soon notice if you miss your practice! Treat yoga as a mental practice not just a physical one Daily yoga practice increases the neurotransmitter GABA which improves

mood, anxiety levels and resilience to stress. It seems to do this more than walking, which might have something to do with the particular way you have pay attention in yoga practice. When you begin, the simplest way to focus your mind is to pay attention to your breath. As you progress your teacher will introduce you to more advanced meditation and breathing techniques which will develop your focus and concentration. Don’t worry if you can’t stop your brain. It’s very normal. The more you practice the more you will improve. Change your perspective on life through contemplation Calming the mind and keeping your body healthy are important, but once you achieve that you may find you want more. Yoga can help you critically examine the way you see the world through its philosophical teachings. A simple place to start is with “Ahimsa”, the very first ethical precept in the 8 limbs of yoga. Ahimsa is usually translated as nonviolence. At a simple level this means not injuring yourself in practice or causing pain to others. But as you contemplate further


you’ll discover greater depth, that includes not preventing yourself or others from fulfilling their potential. Start where you feel a comfortable stretch We are very lucky to have yoga classes available in most suburbs. There are specialist classes for during pregnancy, over 55s and even programs for particular health issues. Sometimes it’s worth investing in private sessions to make sure you have the foundations, particularly if you have health challenges or haven’t used your body for a while.

Personal experience with fibromyalgia led Rachael West to study Yogic Education at university in France. She runs Yoga for Pain Care Australia to help all people with pain access the benefits of yoga.

Seek out a teacher and class that feels right for you and is appropriate to your physical capacity and personal interest. It should also inspire you to learn more. Calming the mind and keeping your body healthy are important, but once you achieve that you may find you want more. Yoga can help you critically examine the way you see the world through its philosophical teachings. 3

Rachael West



It is well known that negative mental health issues affect a significant portion of Australia’s population, 45% of people throughout their lifetime and one in five people every single year. What is less discussed is the process of recovery towards a better, healthier life. Managing our personal mental health is about the choices we make everyday to live a healthy lifestyle, the lifestyle that helps us to stay well. You might wonder why lifestyle choice is so important - isn’t mental health all about what’s in your head? Decades of experience and research tells us that every aspect of human beings, the physical, the emotional and mental, all contribute to our overall health outcomes. There is often a

distinction made between mind and body, but in recent years studies have proven the connection between mental and physical health, and so each of these aspects must be considered as we work towards leading a good and healthy life. Recovery-oriented services, understand that every person is unique with their own experiences and needs. This means a healthy lifestyle will look different for every person. It might involve setting goals, learning new skills, eating differently, joining a gym, or taking medication. The key to this approach is thinking holistically about the way you live and the choices you make in your daily life, and how they work together to affect your overall wellbeing.

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Health issues happen to you, they are not a part of you, and this gives you a choice. You can choose to work towards your vision of a better life. You don’t have to walk this journey alone. Support services are available in your area to suit your needs and circumstances. Richmond Wellbeing, a registered NDIS provider, has been operating for over 40 years. We provide wellbeing and mental health supports across Western Australia, in-cluding supported accommodation, community outreach, Hearing Voices Network, Partners in Recovery, education and training, carer supports and NDIS services. 3

Paige Hughes

Visit call us on (08) 9350 8800 or find us on social media. Facebook : @Richmond Wellbeing Twitter : @RW_wellbeing Email :

5 TIPS FOR A MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY HEALTHY LIFESTYLE: 1. EDUCATE YOURSELF. Learn about the different ways you can manage your mental and physical health. This could be through talking to an expert, find a training course or grab a book from your local library. 2. BE ACTIVE Get up and go for a walk, dance alone to music or ride to work. Do something you enjoy, be it a sport with friends or exercising by yourself, and make it a regular habit. 3. MAKE A CONNECTION Find somewhere you can belong: a community, a social group or join a club. Connect with people and grow your relationships. 4. STICK IT OUT Find something you want to achieve and stick it out till the end. Pick up an instrument or volunteer your time. See how much you can success when you really commit. 5. KNOW THAT YOU’RE NOT ALONE Mental health challenges affect people everyday. Help is available when you are ready to take that step.


AN AUSTRALIAN workplace survival guide Do you sometimes feel like you are speaking a different language, even when you communicate with your employer in English? Like they speak a different language? Do you feel others just don’t quite get you? Or are you trying to understand them, but just don’t seem to connect? You are not alone! Frankly most of us feel like this on a regular basis, especially if you immigrated from a different country or speak a different language at home than at work. You may even have been born and raised in Australia, but with different cultural values than those in your workplace. If you are job seeking you may have thought you went well, but the ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letters keep rolling in. This can lead to frustration and self-doubt. We all need some form of validation from those around us and if we feel that we don’t fit in, it can be very lonely. This in turn often leads to us performing worse as we withdraw from stressful situations and sometimes completely give up. What can you do to fit in better? What can you do to show others your inner awesomeness, without feeling judged because you speak a different language, look different or have different values? First of all, get help. Ask for it. In many cultures it is important to save face or you just don’t want to appear weak. You may just be surprised at how many people would be willing to lend a hand. But its important to ask the right person. Would you go to the hardware store to buy bread? Probably not. It is important to pick the right people to assist you. Sometimes we lean on a partner or a friend who does not have the expertise we need. This is the same as going to the hardware store for bread.


Ask for feedback to identify how you are perceived by others. It is possible that others don’t understand your accent and you may need some help with developing your language skills. It is also possible that it is something very small that you can easily change if you were just aware of it. You may need to ask them directly what you can improve as opposed to just asking for generic feedback. When I was younger I worked as a tour guide in an underground gold mine, taking tourists around and telling them about the origin of gold. One day I had a group of men from a different country who were upset that they had a woman tour guide. Upon further request, they realised there was no other option at short notice and we were stuck with one another. The leader of the group then approached me and ask if I could do the 2-hour tour without once looking them in the eye. This was extremely challenging for me as it was against everything I believed about human relations, but I persevered and was awarded with a very handsome tip at the end of the tour. I could have refused, but weighed it up and for a short time it was not a huge sacrifice to maintain customer relations. Had I refused I would not have earnt a month’s worth of money in two hours. The lesson here was to be flexible. Sometimes we need to make a judgement decision and be open and flexible to adapt to another culture. This does not mean you need to change your religion or your skin colour or anything drastic – just be open to the little things you can change to reach out to others.

Often people from English speaking countries still have vastly different values and beliefs if you dig a bit deeper and this can have its own challenges in the workplace. It might be a different sense of humour or using different colloquialisms. A manager once said to me “I need that report done by close of play.” As I had never heard the expression before I was wondering when exactly she needed it by, but by paraphrasing it to her, she was quick to use a different phrase and I knew for sure she wanted it by the end of the business day. I then bought a Dinkum Dictionary to read up on a few new phrases to be able to understand others better in Australia.

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ADVICE FOR CaLD WORKERS 1. Ask for help 2. Ask for specific feedback 3. Be flexible 4. Be willing and open to learn 5. Get a mentor

Now of course all relationships have two sides and it is also important for employers of diverse workforces to make an effort and to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and it is important to note that it is unlawful in Australia to discriminate against someone for their race, gender or ethnic background. It is impossible to be familiar with every culture, but we can all do a better job of recognising others and embracing our differences. 3

For further help: If you feel overwhelmed with your situation and you need advice, contact; Lifeline Australia 131114

The Department of Health for Aboriginal Counselling Services Perth-Aboriginal-services-counsellingservices

For more information on your human rights go to:

For organisational cultural audit or assistance with inclusivity in the workplace contact; RedHead Communications

Tanya Finnie Tanya Finnie is an expert in building relations and installing confidence in individuals. Tanya has consulted in a variety of rural community and government based projects throughout Africa and Western Australia. Her work in remote communities and the corporate world provided some great case studies on the impact culture has on relationships. She is passionate about bringing people together through building rapport and culturally appropriate communication.


SOPHIE’S RAW MUESLI BAR TREAT YOURSELF WITH THIS TASTY GRAB -AS-YOU-GO RECIPE 4 x cups nuts - you choose (I love, macadamia’s, almonds, cashews, brasil nuts) 1 x cup runny coconut oil 1 x cup pitted medjool dates 1 x cup sultanas 1/2 cup coconut flakes 1/2 cup honey few drops of DoTerra essential oils - I use 4 x Cinnamon (which is antibacterial and anti fungal) and 4 x drops Wild Orange (which is uplifting and great for anxiety and Insomnia) and 4 x drops Cardamon oil (which is great for your digestion)

Chuck them all in a blender and blitz until it starts to form and stick (don’t go to fine), pour in to a deep tray lined with baking paper, squash down and chill until firm. Cut in to pieces. For more info on the oils e-mail me direct at cook@

Sophie Budd is chef and owner of Taste Budds Cooking Studio. She is passionate about teaching people to cook and feeding people! Her resume includes working for both Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver.



It is his first day on the job, finally an opportunity to earn his own money, have some independence and prove to everyone he is smart and capable. He introduced himself nervously to his new boss “My name is Joe and I have Asperger Syndrome. His boss did not seem concerned at all as this is a fast food restaurant run by 15-year old’s, it really isn’t a difficult job for anyone.

The yelling continues, and a few names are thrown his way. He is now flustered, overwhelmed and is losing control. He is finally pushed aside so another staff member can take over. He stands back and watches as both Manager and staff catch up muttering under their breath making reference to the slow, incapable idiot who was holding up the entire restaurant.

His first shift completed, incident free. He is relieved and proud. Shift number two, still feeling positive. Today is a public holiday. He is told to expect to be hammered, whatever that means. The drive through gets busier and busier, the orders are flying in, the workload is piling up and up. The customers are getting impatient and staff in the kitchen are working on overdrive.

He could feel his heart beating faster, he was struggling to breathe, he clutched his chest and the tears started to roll down his cheeks. Just another thing that he would be ridiculed for later that day. The sad thing is that this is his fourth job this year and every time it ended the same way. He resigns at the end of the shift without argument from his boss. Defeated again he silently leaves. This is a common occurrence that many young adults on the Autism Spectrum face when they start work with an organisation that has little or no understanding about how to support an individual on the spectrum.

His section is falling behind and although he is told to work faster he can’t send out a meal less than perfect. His training was very specific. His Shift Manager, who incidentally was not part of the interview process, is starting to yell at him, the rest of the staff join in. He is starting to stress; he has no idea what he is doing wrong.

When Autism West approached me a couple of years ago to help with a pitch for some much needed funding, I suggested one of their young members with Autism should


5 TOP TIPS FOR NEW PRESENTERS ARE: be the one to share his story from the Platform instead of a board member. I have an adult son on the spectrum and understood how important it is for people to have a voice and be able to share their story. It was a huge success. Autism West CEO Alison Davis realised that having public speaking skills and the confidence to share was a chance for these important voices to be heard. Autism West Speaks Out launched in July this year and provides a series of public speaking workshops for 13-30-year old’s giving individuals the skills and confidence to speak out.

1. Stories matter – Share stories not always facts and figures as emotion trumps logic even in business 2. Don’t wing it – Structure, plan and design your presentation, make it conversational and not too speechy 3. Be authentic – Let the audience see who you really are and make sure your message aligns with your values 4. Pace it – Breathe slowly, pause often and don’t rush the experience for you or your audience 5. Give it a go – The more you speak the more confident you will become

Many of the graduates from the speaking programme will be given the opportunity to share their stories at school assemblies and in the workplace. A concept that has been well received by participants and stakeholders. Having the opportunity to share their stories first hand is a step forward in providing awareness about some of the challenges individuals on the spectrum face at school and in their transition to work. Having the confidence and skill to stand up and deliver the presentation is just another challenge but one they were all willing to attack head on and a valuable life experience. In fact, speaking or presenting skills are now vital life skills that everyone should possess. If everyone has the confidence to speak out and employers are aware of how to support and celebrate the unique abilities of individuals on the spectrum perhaps Joe’s story could have had a happier ending. 3

Paula is an authority on standing up and speaking out and helps experts, entrepreneurs and organisations grow their business and their brand by harnessing the power of speaking. Contact Paula Smith if you wish to support the Autism West Speaks Out project. Paula Smith (Speaker CSP, Author, Master Trainer and Business Consultant)

Paula Smith


LIFE STAGES...growing older Mental health is essential to overall health and well-being regardless of age. As people age, the importance of mental health increases as there are some common hurdles that are experienced in the sometimes ‘not-so-golden’ years. Major milestones such as retirement and the ‘grandies growing up’ that seemed so far away and much anticipated in the past are looming or worse still, have arrived on the doorstep with notice that ‘services are no longer required’. Commencement of formal care services or admission to residential aged care is a significant change and situational depression is not uncommon. Some people even experience a period of grief, as they mourn the life that they have lost.

It is estimated that between 10 and 15 per cent of older people experience depression and approximately 10 per cent experience anxiety. Rates of depression among people living in residential agedcare are believed to be much higher, at around 35 per cent. Dementia is a complex disease that is increasing in prevalence, whilst sadly remaining a taboo topic in many circles. A person with a diagnosis of dementia has a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression, while caring for a person with dementia can lead to increased rates of depression, stress and anxiety compared to non-carers. Feelings of loneliness, hopelessness and lack of purpose often contribute to these mental illnesses in the over 65 population. The loss of a partner, friends or independence (such as driving) are also common factors. Flailing physical health is prevalent in this group, often a person who was active in retirement and maintaining mental wellness declines rapidly as social isolation creeps in and doctor visits become the weekly activity.

Regaining or maintaining mental wellness may not be simple. For many aged people it requires effort in the ‘usual areas’ of physical activity, diet, social activity, minimisation of alcohol and physical wellness (the management of chronic conditions is important). Taking time to laugh (even if it is at yourself) is golden. While there are exceptions, the majority of elderly appreciate interaction with the younger generation. A couple of hours reminiscing of days gone, of the ‘olden days’ can assist a person to feel more valued, interesting and continuing to contribute to our society. Aged care providers of wellness services are charged with the responsibility of constantly reviewing and updating their activity programs to ensure the smorgasbord is current, relevant, stimulating and meaningful. What an age group was interested in 10 years ago will not necessarily be appealing now. Providers need to think further and further outside the box, this is no time for stereotyping crocheted doilies and matchbox cars. Travel and risk-taking activities such as sky diving have become increasingly popular in our aged. The baby boomers will take this to another space again. There is a common phrase in the aged care sector: “dignity of risk”. This means respecting each individual’s autonomy and self-determination (or “dignity”) to make choices for himself or herself. This contributes significantly to the mental health of a person, no matter their age. 3

Krystal Laurentsch CEO Capecare



meditation Mental Floss for the Brain Meditation uses a variety of techniques to help you quickly calm your body and mind. This can be done through a short spot meditation (a few breaths or a minute’s focus) through to a longer meditation which may last 20 minutes, an hour or longer. You can meditate sitting, standing or laying down; moving or staying still. It is a good idea to explore various types of meditation to get a feel for what you get the most benefit from. Once you have chosen the position it is a process of calming your breathing and your mind to help you to disengage from the usual mind chatter that we experience. You can do this by focussing on your breath, on body sensations or through visualisation. These can be processes you lead yourself through, or that someone else leads you through (either in person or through a recording that you listen to). People use meditation for different reasons, however, many people find meditation is a great tool to use to help them to relax, to regulate emotions, to be more mindful and purposeful in their day. I once heard it described as dental floss for the brain which really resonates with me because it can feel that through meditation you can clear out some of the waste and gunk that clogs your mid and can feel a sense of clarity from this. The primary aim of relaxation is to focus on your body sensations and relaxing muscle tone and stress. This can be fabulous, especially if you experience muscle tension that leads to pain or sleep disturbance. Relaxation does not require your mind to do anything in particular (although you may become so relaxed that

your mind naturally calms and you may even become sleepy). Meditation is a way of relaxing both the body and focussing the mind. So as well as releasing muscle tension in the body, meditation specifically works on releasing tension and attachment to our mental processes so that we can truly relax wholly. Mindfulness is a term used very broadly in today’s vernacular. It is generally used to refer to a state of awareness or alertness. Awareness of your emotions, your body, your thoughts, your words, your actions. The general goal of mindfulness is to get people to switch off their auto-pilot and to engage fully and presently in what they are doing / who they are with / what they are eating/ what they are saying. Mindfulness is about attention in the moment rather than rehashing the past or rehearsing the future. A simple three sigh spot meditation can help to calm and relax you in the moment and therefore you can see results very quickly. Like with many activities, the more you practice and learn what types of meditation suit you best, and the more you integrate it into your life, the more benefits you are likely to experience. Many people claim that they can’t meditate because their mind is too busy – a racing mind is a great reason to learn to meditate. You don’t have to stop the racing thoughts to be able to meditate. Rather you will learn the techniques and build you skills to be able to notice the racing thoughts and to not be as engaged with them. You will have more capacity to observe your mental processes rather than to be driven by them at all times.



Meditation can be done anytime or anywhere. Brain science is beginning to show us that it’s one of the best things you can do for your mental health and wellbeing! There are some people who relish longer meditations – meditating for twenty minute sessions or more every day. However, you don’t have to do that if you prefer to do smaller meditations. Sit for a few minutes and let your mind wander naturally; take a deep breath and sigh out when moving from one activity to the next; use deep and deliberate breathing every time you get a red light while driving your car; or use the time in an elevator to be still and focus on the buttons lighting up as the elevator moves through the floors, not engaging with any thoughts that may be wafting through your mind. The key is to develop your capacity to be still, to be mindful and not be dragged mentally through the day. Instead choose where you put your attention and give your brain some attention breaks. I once heard meditation compared to dental floss, instead in this case it is mental floss. It’s as good at cleaning out the mess in your brain as dental floss is at preventing cavity and decay for your teeth. Download our free meditations here



Fantastic opportunity to understand mental illness and dealing with a difficult subject... but it just got a whole lot easier. Thanks.

C. Cumming

Digital Channel Manager, Water Corporation

Tasha spoke not only with obvious knowledge but also great heart. Her presentation was practical and accessible and left listeners with insights and tips that they could begin to use straight away in dealing with adversity or simply delighting in the blessings in life. One of the things that spoke most loudly about Tasha’s presentation was her willingness to be vulnerable. It was a powerful way to begin a great session that left me feeling that I had the keys to both bloom and be buoyant, a great extension on the topic of resilience.

D. Cramer

Author (Happiness and it’s Causes Conference)

We were thrilled to present your inspiring and moving talk on mental health. The response to your talk was overwhelmingly positive. Some of the wonderful comments that were made: Your presentation truly touched us all. On behalf of myself and my colleagues, I’d like to say how we are thinking about new ways we can reach out and help our community in a profound way as you did. I was prepared to be bored, but this lady was one of the most amazing, engaging, and interactive speakers I’ve ever witnessed. Worthy of a TED talk. Her delivery was as excellent as the content of her presentation. Her presentation would not be out of place at any TED event or

Joel Miller

Creative Director TEDx Perth


Profile for Blooming Minds Mental Health & Wellbeing

Blooming Minds Mental Health & Wellbeing October 2016  

A magazine to develop your knowledge of mental health and well-being for yourself and others and to help you Bloom. Blooming Minds works wit...

Blooming Minds Mental Health & Wellbeing October 2016  

A magazine to develop your knowledge of mental health and well-being for yourself and others and to help you Bloom. Blooming Minds works wit...