Consumers share their stories of healing and recovery with Harriet Shing MP

Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health, Harriet Shing MP, visited Wadamba Wilam (Renew Shelter) to hear from consumers and carers.

By Jamie Waring

Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health, Harriet Shing MP, visited Wadamba Wilam (Renew Shelter) after hearing of the successful outcomes achieved by consumers and wanted to explore this further.

On Friday 29 March, Ms Shing visited Wadamba Wilam (Renew Shelter) at our Neami Fairfield office. We used this opportunity for consumers and carers to attend and invited them to share, in their voice, their stories of healing and recovery.

What transpired were moving accounts detailing significant trauma, grief and loss and continual experiences of the lack of culturally safe and appropriate services for Aboriginal Victorians in the broader community.

Throughout the meeting a prevailing theme centred around the absolute necessity for establishing trust, that Indigenous Australians have been continually promised much and rarely given on these promises. It was so heartening to hear that Wadamba Wilam is considered a service that was trusted, and now vouched for, by our consumers and carers to the broader Aboriginal Victorian community. This trust is part of the reason why we have seen a significant increase in self and family referrals to the program over time.

Carers shared their appreciation for the real healing and recovery outcomes of their family members and highlighted that the support from Wadamba Wilam extended to them, and how this collective approach had a profound effect on the wellbeing of family and community.

Consumers spoke of their life before support, their experience of profound loss, trauma and grief and the impact on their Social and Emotional Wellbeing. Consumers also shared how they were travelling now, how they were more connected with family, community and culture, with some returning to work – beautiful stories of strength and healing.

Ms Shing affirmed the need for services that provided tailored, culturally-safe and appropriate support to Aboriginal Victorians and recognised that the provision for this included targeted programs such as Wadamba Wilam, were essential in addition to support offered through the NDIS and other funded programs.

Ms Shing had allocated one hour for the meeting, which she graciously extended to hear the incredibly rich and invaluable contribution our consumers and carers bring when sharing their stories.