A big part of my role is educating community and service providers about the programs that we offer. I used to work with the Royal Flying Doctors service as a community engagement officer and drug and alcohol counsellor. I worked a bit in the mental health sector in Cobar with them, so I got to learn a lot about the community needs.

It was a bit of shift going from drug and alcohol counselling to working in the Family mental health support service and working with children. They are both just as different as the other, and you always pick up skills along the way, no matter what you’re doing.

When I was growing up there was a lot of trauma. this has helped me to connect with kids on a personal level of understanding and support them in a way that I needed support when I was younger. I think having a lived experience of the work you do, can add a lot of value. I’m currently doing my diploma in counselling, and it’s helping me make sense of a lot of things.

It takes a lot to learn how to manage not taking stuff home with you. I used to constantly be thinking about the clients and it would get in the way of home life. After working in small communities for several years, you appreciate the importance of boundaries. You need to leave work at work and be present at home.

The most common theme I would say, is trauma. It looks different in everyone’s story and effects people very differently. I think in places like Cobar there is not much going on out there so it can sometimes be a product of their own boredom and lack of support.

Access is probably the biggest positive change that could happen in rural communities. There can be a long time on waiting lists for people to get the support they need. I find that helping them come up with their own options and encouraging them to make the decision, is usually a good approach.

There are some people that live with trauma on a daily basis. If the kids grow up with that, then they can take it on, along with any unhelpful coping strategies.

It takes a lot to break through those cycles of trauma. When people are empowered to make their own choice about change, and they take hold of it; it’s amazing to see the progress.

I love helping people, helping them to be the best versions of themselves. I understand what it’s like to come from a vulnerable place and how amazing it feels to overcome that and reach those goals. I want the best for people, it’s just who I am, which makes it easy. I naturally connect with people; I feel this work is what I need to be doing – but I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

I’ve always been a person that people can come to for trust and support and if I can do that in my work, then I am being myself.

I am usually one to preach self-care for clients, but when it comes to myself, I guess it’s got a lot to do with lifestyle; spending time with my daughter and my family. I go to the gym, I listen to music all the time, I enjoy cooking and movie nights with my daughter. Especially during Covid-19, I am particularly enjoying spending more time with my daughter and family. Time is more important than all the other stuff.