At this year’s Community BBQ for Mental Health in Dorrigo we reflected on the importance of community events in reaching out and connecting with vulnerable people.

Last year’s BBQ saw CHESS staff member Deb Snow connect with a mature aged male who took literature from our stand. The following week Deb followed up with a chat and we brought on this individual as a client.

We found that our client was experiencing a high level of disadvantage which was keeping him from living a positive and balanced life. Living with extreme social anxiety and depression, our client was isolated in a remote rural property. Without a car, he was walking to the local shops to get supplies – a round trip of at least 3 hours, with 20kg of supplies. Living entirely ‘off the grid’ our client was using natural water and needed to collect wood to light fires to heat water for bathing and cooking.

A year on, we are still working with our client. Since connecting with CHESS and being linked with a counsellor we have seen a dramatic improvement in coping skills and capacity to regulate moods and self refer to services.

Our client has since secured a loan and purchased a 2nd hand vehicle to assist with shopping trips and community engagement. The Partners in Recovery program also facilitated the purchase of a gas operated shower system so our client can now have daily showers and improve his overall hygiene.

The next purchase will be a camping style self operated manual washing machine. We are also in the process of arranging a referral for dental work and collating support documentation to apply for the NDIS.

Since working with CHESS our client has reported that for the first time in years he feels joy, looks forward to each day and can make plans and develop strategies to reach his goals, set time frames and work out who he will involve in his plans.

He has also given up smoking which has allowed additional funds towards supplies.

*all information has been de-identified, stock pic via pixabay.com

The PIR program improves pathways to community services and supports, enabling recovery-focussed systems of care that nurture sustainable independence for participants. For more information on these services visit our website HERE

CHESS Marketing Manager Heather is passionate about bringing NGO's into the future through digital marketing and brand storytelling. A big fan-girl of fantasy fiction, Heather enjoys switching off from the virtual world with a good book and a hot cup of joe.