GPH Real Stories - Gary

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April 27, 2018

Garry and the pelican

When I met Gary I was impressed with his spiffy clothes and polite manner. He is a gentle and caring person whose eyes light up when he talks about animals- their beauty, strength and resilience. He likes to watch them, photograph them and learn from them.

Gary has battled with mental illness for most of his life. Childhood trauma and years of isolation had taken its toll by the time he came to Grand Pacific
Health (GPH) in Goulburn in 2017. His GP had referred him to the Integrated Recovery Services program at GPH.

Soon after, he began working with Mental Health Clinician Sue Webster and Peer Worker Stephen Golding. Steve says he invited Gary to fill in a strengths test, which highlighted his creative side and love of the environment. They decided to build on this by pursuing a hobby in photography. This enabled Gary to get out of the house, explore beauty in the environment and capture the image featured above.

Gary said this photo is particularly special because it symbolizes his recovery journey:
“Its like a reflection of my past and present."
“The pelican turns from the dark towards the radiant light and appears to realise its own strength as it stretches out its wings, just as I have chosen to do," added Gary.

Sue affirms that the Gary she sees today is different to the Gary she met last year:
“Gary was in a dark place, the way he dressed and carried himself reflected the way he felt inside.”
“The confidence he now has to try new things is incredible,” Sue added.

His Peer Worker Steve agrees: “Gary has started travelling and creating a different ‘newsreel’ in his mind, creating new and happy memories,” said Steve.
Gary has struggled to engage with services in the past but has enjoyed his experience with GPH because of the way services work together smoothly for him.
Steve describes the way Peer Workers and Clinicians work alongside each other as complementary:
“Sue, as his therapist, leads the way and ploughs the soil, while I follow behind and help spread the seeds.” Said Steve.

They even helped remove any roadblocks for Gary with his first travel adventure and are now supporting him to apply for the NDIS so he can continue to get the supports he needs.
“The world is my oyster now,” says Gary
“GPH has given me the tools I need to broaden my horizons,” Added Gary.

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