Health and Wellbeing

An aftercare service for people at risk of suicide available on the Mid North Coast

Written byChristine Tondorf
Published on14 Dec, 2022
Care Connect 2 Care Connect Program Manager, Leigh Chad, Care Connect Mental Health Clinician Jason Timperley, Care Connect Program Worker Paula Sher

Social Futures now delivers a suicide prevention service on the Mid North Coast to the Bellingen and Kempsey Shires, Nambucca Valley, Port Macquarie and surrounding areas.

Care Connect is an aftercare support and treatment service for people who have attempted suicide or are at risk of suicide or self-harm.

Social Futures Senior Manager – Suicide Prevention and Community Care, Melissa Wiseman, said the Care Connect team offer person-centered support and can link participants to other services including mental health, alcohol and other drug treatments, family counselling, housing, employment and finance supports.

“Our program workers are there for our participants and can also connect them to a range of supports such as clinical specialists like psychologists and psychiatrists,” Ms Wiseman said.

“We know that providing an extended period of support for people at risk plays an important role in suicide prevention. The aftercare and assistance we give is all encompassing – we support the individual, their family and/or their caregivers.

“We ‘walk alongside’ people at risk. We know how important quality care and support for people at risk of suicide is.”

“We also seek culturally appropriate supports for the people we are working with,” Ms Wiseman said.

The Care Connect Service is funded by Healthy North Coast, delivering the Primary Health Network (PHN) program, an Australian Government initiative.

To contact Care Connect phone 1800 718 573 or email [email protected]

If you are in need of immediate support call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline on
13 11 14.

  • PHOTO: Care Connect Program Manager, Leigh Chad, Care Connect Mental Health Clinician Jason Timperley, Care Connect Program Worker Paula Sheridan.

 

The story of a Care Connect participant in their own words

I was in a dark place. I couldn’t leave my home. I was closed off, and I’d sort of lost myself. I knew I needed help.

The only reason I’d leave the house was to feed my habits. I was smoking heavily – marijuana and cigarettes – and I also used alcohol. It was terrible how much smoking I was doing. All I would do would be wake up, smoke, go to bed, wake up, smoke, have a drink, go to bed, repeat. It made me close off from everyone.

I wouldn’t say I was harming myself, but I’d reached a point where I would have been happy not to be around. I ended up admitted to hospital for a short time to keep me safe. That was very hard.

I knew I was on the verge of tipping over. That is why I finally worked up the courage to speak up and get help.  I reached out to Care Connect. I’d heard about them, and one of the main reasons I called them was because they were local to me in Kempsey.

Care Connect helped me a lot. As soon as I walked through the door, I was comfortable, and my program worker helped me relax. We sat down and had a chat, and the program worker asked if I needed anything, like a glass of water. It was the little things that helped me feel more at ease and it wasn’t like someone was interrogating me or telling me that I was doing the wrong thing. It was more like, “We can help you move towards a better version of yourself.”

The most helpful thing at Care Connect was my program worker – she’s a legend! She was very helpful, helped me find new ways of calming myself down and communicating with my family, especially my mum. That had become a massive problem at home. My mum and I were arguing a lot of the time. That was because of the dark place I was in. I didn’t think anything except, “What about me?”

My program worker helped connect me to mental health professionals, like doctors and a psychiatrist. I was also offered drug and alcohol treatments. I was offered more than enough help.

Now to be honest, I’m feeling great. I’m smiling, talking. I would barely talk before.

You’d be lucky to get two words out of me. I’m really going well. I’ve started a new job and am soon beginning some training.

I’m building up the blocks to get to where I want to be.

My relationships have changed. My mum saw a massive change in me as soon as I got in contact with Care Connect. She’s thanked my program worker for getting me to here. My mum and I are getting along really well now, and I’m so thankful that relationship wasn’t ruined.

To anyone out there in a bad place, I would say try your best to reach out to someone, don’t think that no one has your back. Get in contact with Care Connect.

Care Connect will show you that there is always help available, there is always hope, there is always someone out there who will listen and have your back. Don’t start thinking that everyone is against you because they’re people who will help you.

Remember, there are still so many opportunities in this world, and so much to life that you haven’t yet experienced. Now I have so much opportunity to grow and become something great.

There is so much to life but it’s hard to feel that way sometimes. When you’re in a dark place, it’s mainly about finding that support and then showing yourself that you can go out and do what you want to do and be who you want to be. Care Connect can help.

To contact Care Connect phone 1800 718 573 or email [email protected]