Joblink Plus and Flourish Australia Collaborate on Homeless Connect Day
Pictured: Jim Booth and Rebecca Benson of Flourish Australia
Homeless Connect Day took place in Tamworth on 27th July with a volunteer-driven community event at the TRECC. Service providers from the region partnered to provide facilities ranging from haircuts to health checks, as well as legal and financial services. Put together for those who identify as homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless, the annual event encourages those affected to come together and seek assistance. With a record attendance of over 900 individuals, the 2017 event has been declared a huge success.
Joblink Plus collaborated with Flourish Australia in Tamworth to provide much-needed beverage services for those in attendance. With a commercial grade coffee machine donated for the day by Tamworth West Rotary Club, baristas were needed to operate it and the obvious choices were Jarrod and Dion, graduates of our very own SEE Change Café. Together they put in a massive effort and served more than 750 coffees.
The theme of supporting the homeless is something that Flourish Australia is eager to get behind. As an organisation built around supporting mental health and wellbeing, Flourish Australia knows that issues of shelter and security are all too important to those who experience, or are at risk of experiencing, mental health issues. The two issues are intimately linked; those who are homeless are more likely to experience mental health issues, and those who experience mental health issues are often at risk of becoming homeless. A study conducted by SANE that surveyed individuals who had experienced mental health issues found that 94% identified as having been homeless or without suitable housing at some time.
Joblink Plus believes collaboration with organisations like Flourish Australia is vital. Together, we share the belief that employment prevents homelessness as well as supporting mental health recovery in many cases. A job is so much more than an income –interaction with peers, colleagues and the broader community reduces feelings of isolation and the skills learned in any given role can be translated for use in everyday life. An individual’s recovery journey often involves gaining and sustaining employment with an employer who understands their needs and is supportive. Recognising businesses that support a recovery based approach is important to Flourish Australia, and for this reason the organisation presents the Excellence in Mental Health Recovery award with the Quality Business Awards in both Armidale and Tamworth annually.
This isn’t to say that employment cures or prevents mental health issues. With one in five Australians experiencing some form of mental unwellness each year, a significant amount of the country’s workforce live and work every day with mental health issues. Unfortunately, mental health issues are often hidden in the workplace, with many of those affected choosing not to disclose their situation combined with employers’ uncertainty on how to approach the subject. Flourish Australia aims to break the stigma through their work in the community, with health, housing and employment providers, along with workshops aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge about mental health in the workplace.
Flourish Australia itself employs around 700 total staff, and 50% of these employees identify as having a lived experience of a mental health issue, leading to the organisation creating a peer mentoring model aligned with some operating in the United States and Europe. Peer mentoring is vital in assisting many of the 4700 individuals supported by Flourish Australia in building confidence and hope through mutual understanding.
The organisation receives funding from a number of areas including the NSW and Commonwealth Departments of Health, Family and Community Services as well as the NDIS and is able to support individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life. Flourish Australia’s mission is for the community to work together for optimal mental health and wellbeing.
You can read more about Flourish Australia at https://www.flourishaustralia.org.au or call 1300 779 270 to chat about the programs available. For more information about mental health and the NDIS, visit http://reimagine.today or call 1800 800 110.