Lavender is blossoming

For a long time, one of Lavender’s biggest goals was to join the gym. Even though she wanted to go for walks and participate in the community, Lavender felt extreme anxiety about leaving the home. Lavender (name changed at her request) says she was constantly distressed about her mental health and her prescribed medications.

When St Vincent’s Health contracted Mind to deliver its Early Intervention Psychosocial Support Response program (EIPSR) last year, we were able to offer Lavender psychosocial support to help her do things outside. Lavender had never accessed psychosocial support before and she was reluctant to meet or engage with a Mind support worker. Her case manager spent several weeks encouraging Lavender to meet with someone from Mind, and eventually, a short meeting was agreed upon.

Initially, Lavender was reluctant to say much and the first meetings with her Mind practitioner, Jessica, were short; Lavender didn’t say much because she found it all overwhelming. Several monthly meetings passed and Lavender eventually got to know Jessica; she revealed more about her difficulties conversing with others, how she would often over-think and rehearse what she would say days before a planned meeting. This would lead to overwhelming anxiety, so she tended to avoid and cancel any planned engagements.

Some months later, Lavender is enjoying her time with Jessica and they meet for four hours once a week. Being able to spend time with a person outside of her family on a regular basis has meant Lavender can practice conversing with others. This has led to a positive change in her self- confidence and she has started achieving some of the goals she had identified with Jessica, including going to the gym. Lavender says she’s also keen to be a part of Mind recreational groups, especially an arts and crafts group.

“Mind’s support has been life changing,” Lavender says.

Can you believe that I am going to the gym now? I was staying at home and had issues, but now I feel new and different; it has really helped my anxiety.

Update: Supporting Lavender during COVID-19

During the COVID-19 restrictions, Lavender has been supported through regular over-the-phone catch ups with her support worker. These phone calls included health and wellbeing checks, making sure Lavender had enough food and medical supplies as well as general conversation, which maintained that important social connection.

Just before the border restrictions came into place, Lavender had the opportunity to travel to Queensland and spent time strengthening her relationship with her aunt and uncle. While there Lavender also made progress with her diet, eating three meals per day. Starting the day with breakfast was a new and healthy change for Lavender and it helped give her routine and structure during the lockdown period.

The restrictions put a temporary stop to Lavender’s trips to the gym, but in the meantime she has been still been able to get out of the house to go for regular walks and get some exercise, something she couldn’t have done a few months earlier. Well done, Lavender!

For enquiries about early intervention psychosocial supports, contact Mind Connect on 1300 286 463 or email mindconnect@mindaustralia.org.au.