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ermha365 Complex Mental Health and Disability News - March 2023
Karenza Louis-Smith, CEO

A message from our CEO

I’ve been focused lately working on ermha365’s new strategic plan with the executive team and our Board. This has been supported by our ermha365 Strategy Champions who have been working closely with our team seeking their input.

Our Chief Operations Officer, Jackie Ashmore and I have met with several key stakeholders across the programs and services we deliver in partnerships. These have included meetings with Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), Barwon Health, Wellways and Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative (our partners in the Greater Geelong-Queenscliffe Mental Health and Wellbeing Local).
We've also met met with community partners and stakeholders to seek feedback about our strategic plan. We’re excited to be thinking about the next five to 10 years for our organisation and the impact we can continue to have in the community.

I’ve attended a Board meeting of Mental Health Victoria and chaired its marketing and fundraising committee. Later this month I’m looking forward to welcoming five peer cadets to ermha365 as part of an exciting program supported by Department of Health funding.

Finally, Emily Webb, Advocacy and External Communications Advisor and I recorded a podcast with Dr Ahona Guha, a Melbourne-based Clinical and Forensic Psychologist about her powerful new book Reclaim. We spoke in depth about complex trauma and understanding those who do harm to others. It’s a great read, and the podcast is a great listen. It will be released on 22 March.

Mental Health and Community Services

Positive Vibes at Hive

Key Support Worker Tara
Key Support Worker Tara demonstrates the mosaic projects in the Hive art and craft room.

A new Younger Adults Group has been launched at Hive Newtown this year, for adults aged between 18 to 35 years. This group has been created for individuals to have a space for social connection and to learn new strategies to help with wellbeing. Participants can join art groups, writing groups, practice mindfulness skills, and learn strategies for managing day-to-day life and more. The program runs every Wednesday between 11am – 2pm.
The new Positivi-Tree was created by HIVE participants and team.

The paper leaves have inspirational quotes and comments and it covers the wall of the Quiet Room which is, as you’d expect from the name, a space for people to reflect and relax.
Hive Newtown also runs programs and services every day – art and writing activities, music, exercise, gardening, meditation, peer support and more.

There’s a lot happening! Our Hearing Voices group is unique to the area, and is for people with people with lived experience of voices, visions and other unusual sensory perceptions, led by a volunteer peer. If you want to know more about The Hearing Voices Network, there’s a website with useful information.

For further information about our Hive programs in Geelong, you can contact email, or call 0417 078 178.

Assertive Outreach at Living Learning Pakenham

ermha365 Wellbeing Mentor Julie Humphreys
Wellbeing Mentor Julie Humphreys (pictured) provides Assertive Outreach at Living & Learning Pakenham (LLP) on Wednesdays 9am-12pm as part of our CPS services. Julie recently participated in a story and photo by the Pakenham Gazette newspaper about these community supports, and CEO Karenza Louis-Smith and COO Jackie Ashmore also met with the centre’s CEO Miriam Cadwallader for a tour and a chat.

Ange, who lives in the local community, has accessed assertive outreach with Julie. Ange has been going through a difficult family situation, and said the assertive outreach service helped her in a number of ways, including talking, accessing services and understanding some of processes that her family was involved in.

“I had so much in my mind that I had to get out,” Ange told us. “It was a horrible thing we were going through with a young family member. People at my work noticed I wasn’t my same bubbly self. If I haven’t got a smile on my face people know something is wrong.”

Ange said it was fantastic that she could access help locally and it was a bonus that the service is located in her community.

“Assertive outreach with Julie walked me through things I didn’t understand and she also helped me engage with the NDIS. Things are looking good for me and my family now.”

Julie added: “Ange and I also spoke about self-care and how important it is for her to look after her own needs too, amidst all she’s doing to support her family”.

The Assertive Outreach service is supported by funding from South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network through the Australian Government’s PHN Program.

Recognising women in community life

Angela O'Callaghan nominated for Women in Community Life award
A shout-out to Angela O’Callaghan (pictured), our National Quality Manager, (Quality Safeguarding & Risk) who was a nominee in the recent City of Greater Geelong Women in Community Life Awards.

Angela was nominated in the Human Rights category, which reflects her commitment to upholding human rights and the rights of those with disability, as demonstrated by her diverse and community-focused career of more than 20 years.

Other award categories included education, disability rights, First Nations women and climate action.

The City of Greater Geelong established these awards in 2016 as a part of its work to progress gender equality and inclusion across all industries and disciplines, where women often do not receive awards or recognition at the same rate as men.


Opportunities available

Young man on street wearing headphones

We offer a wide range of career opportunities at ermha365, and we’re recruiting for several roles at the moment in southeast Melbourne (Dandenong South and Doveton), Barwon, South Yarra and Bendigo.

For all current opportunities please visit ermha365’s Careers page.


Talking Mental Health & Disability podcast

Get Real: Talking Mental Health and Disability
Get Real: Talking Mental Health and Disability presents frank and fearless conversations about mental health and disability, including people with lived experience, frontline workers in the industry, as well as policy-makers and advocates.

You can listen, rate and review GET REAL on your preferred podcast listening platform including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts, and  Stitcher.
We know mental health impacts many people in all sorts of ways, including in occupations and industries. For our latest episode of GET REAL: Talking Mental Health and Disability we found out about mental health and the hospitality industry. There’s almost one million people in Australia who work in accommodation and food services and the average age of employees is 26.

Former chef of 22 years Alan Tompkins is our guest. Alan is an Australian ambassador for
The Burnt Chef Project, which was established in the UK to eradicate mental health stigma within hospitality. After hanging up his chef whites, Alan’s using his living experience to work in mental health and recently started work at ermha365 as a Carer Respite Facilitator.

You can listen here.

Alan’s Facebook page is Mental Health and the Hospitality Industry

Reading, watching, listening

Understanding the causes and consequences of trauma and abuse

"Reclaim: Understanding Complex Trauma and Those Who Abuse" by clinical and forensic psychologist Dr Ahona Guha. Ahona is a guest for an upcoming Get Real podcast episode.
Our Dementia Choir

Our Dementia Choir Sings Again (ABC iView).
Actor Vicky McClure (Line of Duty) returns home to Nottingham to share a poignant, uplifting journey of how music can impact the lives and improve wellbeing for people with dementia. Series 1:
 Our Dementia Choir is also available on iView. 

SEEN (SBS podcast)

What happens when you look around, and you can’t see anyone who is like you? SEEN is a new podcast from SBS hosted by Yumi Stynes about cultural creatives who have risen to excellence despite not having visible role-models in their industries. The first episode is with Whadjuk Noongar Journalist Narelda Jacobs who started her television journalism career in Perth and now works for Network 10 and NITV in Sydney.

Useful links and resources

The Burnt Chef Project
The Burnt Chef Project is a globally recognised not-for-profit.

The project is committed to making the hospitality profession healthier and more sustainable by focusing on people's wellbeing first.

Visit the Burnt Chef Project

ermha365 - Complex Mental Health and Disability
South-East Melbourne | North-West Melbourne | Geelong | Bendigo | Darwin
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Acknowledgement of Country

ermha365 acknowledges that our work in the community takes place on the Traditional Lands of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and therefore respectfully recognise their Elders, past and present, and the ongoing Custodianship of the Land and Water by all Members of these Communities.
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