This blog post is written by Toni Hines, Aftercare’s PHaMs Team Leader in Cairns.
On June 16th, I had the opportunity to be part of the Aftercare Social & Emotional Wellbeing program launch up on beautiful Thursday Island, along with our CEO John Malone.
This experience left me feeling very proud of the organisation I work for, for its respectful approach & cultural sensitivity. I am also very proud as of the workers who are all local, well respected community members doing a great job in their local community.
The Thursday Island Aftercare Team
Team Leader Samat Sagigi is heading up a small team of 3 workers. Welcome to Nancy Hooper & Eric Toby who have recently joined the team, both with experience, skills & positive attitudes!
I understand from my own experience in Cairns that there can sometimes be challenges when working in remote areas, with Aftercare Head Offices located quite a distance away.
However, the values of Aftercare were very much felt within this program on Thursday Island. The program and team demonstrated strong leadership; a collaborative & recovery-oriented approach.
Since the development of this program, I believe that Aftercare has been committed to making all attempts to respect local culture and work in with existing supports and networks. Gaining local community acceptance and respect has been vital for this program to be a success.
The turn up to the launch gave me every indication that Aftercare is an accepted and respected service on Thursday Island with representation from the local Mayor Vonda Malone, Elders, Community Members, Qld Mental Health, Primary Healthcare Network & other local stakeholders.
Well done to Samat and the Team! Even though you are a long way away, you are all very much an important part of the Aftercare team and we wish you every success in your ongoing efforts to make a positive contribution to those who are affected by mental health issues & helping to reduce the stigma and shame that still exists around mental illness in all our communities.
The team have created such a warm, welcoming and friendly environment that is open for everyone.
In the words of Aftercare Thursday Island Support Worker Nancy Hooper –
“This launch has been like the rain. Now the flower has burst out. We are opening (our doors) petal by petal… and the referrals & people are now coming in”.