New mental health care model inspires graduate - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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New mental health care model inspires graduate

8 Jun 2016

A University of the Sunshine Coast graduate is helping to provide a new concept of care for people dealing with mental health issues in Canberra.

Anthea Woodburn has been employed as a mental health recovery worker in a 24-hour supported residential program for Richmond Fellowship after graduating from USC with a Bachelor of Human Services last year.

“I manage a house with five residents and we are very much a guinea pig for future residential programs,” Anthea said.

She said the program promoted a person-centred and recovery-centred approach which was a significant contrast from the institutionalised practice that the residents were used to.

“I walk alongside them in their recovery journeys and help them to reconnect to the community,” she said.

“Knowing that I am making a difference in their lives is a pretty amazing part about working in this field.”

The former Sienna Catholic College student said she discovered her passion for mental health during an internship placement as part of her degree at the PEARL mental health recovery program on the Sunshine Coast.

She said USC Field Education Coordinator Christine Boulter was a major inspiration during her studies.

“Christine embodied what a worker in this field should be like,” she said. “She was very understanding of my own individual needs and capabilities and helped me to find a path that I was suited to.”

Anthea also credits the commitment of the Human Services lecturers for a great USC experience.

“You could tell that many of them were so passionate about the field and about what they were teaching and that made a huge difference in terms of making me want to learn more,” she said.

“I also valued their experiences and how they could relate them to what we were learning in class.”

The former Sippy Downs resident said she chose USC because it was convenient to where she lived and she liked the small community vibe of the university.

— Clare McKay

USC graduate Anthea Woodburn receives her degree from USC Chancellor John Dobson at her graduation ceremony last year.

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