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Bek stopped work in mid-2017 following a battle with her mental health. She moved in with her parents and was in what she describes as ‘a dark place’ before spending some time in the sub-acute unit at Shoalhaven Hospital. From there she was connected to local services like HASI (Housing and Accomodation Support Initiative).

HASI Nowra Support Worker Carrie came to Bek’s house, helped her establish a routine, helped her declutter and connected with her over coffee. They even looked up some easy to cook recipes for Bek to try cooking for herself and take care of her physical wellbeing.

One of the goals they decided to work on was social activities. Bek was anxious about being involved but at the same time felt isolated. Ironically COVID presented a great opportunity to ease into a group setting. Bek was able to participate in a few online group sessions where she could sit behind the safety of her computer screen and turn off the camera, or take a break when she needed to. She started with the Bushfire Preparedness Workshop and then tried something more creative – the ‘Diamond Dots’ art workshop run by the HASI Ulladulla team. This kept her hands and mind busy while she got used to interaction and seeing everybody’s faces.

When I met Bek, she was participating in the ‘Good Fire’ workshop run by local Indigenous Leader and Entrepreneur Ashleigh McGuire – owner of ‘Ripe Mentoring.’ Ash facilitated conversations around building on strengths and overcoming fear. Bek enjoyed being in nature at Greenfields beach in Vincentia at these sessions, where the roaring of the ocean waves in the background and the enormous trees somehow make problems feel smaller. She also enjoyed learning about Ash’s culture and hearing different ideas on living.

Now that Bek is comfortable doing many things she couldn’t do before and has come such a long way, her next goal is being able to live independently again.

“HASI has made a big difference, the staff always focus on my goals and what I want to achieve,” said Bek.

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