Jennifer has lived with mental illness for nearly 20 years, and with the support of the Open Minds chime program, lives a positive and hope-filled life.
The Open Minds chime program provides hospital diversion, addresses people’s psychosocial needs, and gives them hope for the future.
The Open Minds chime office is based in Nambour and services the whole of the Sunshine Coast.
In partnership with Suncare Community Services (who service the Gympie and Cooloola regions) chime provides one-on-one support to individuals, as well as life skills groups, social gatherings such as morning teas and after hours telephone support.
Today we meet Jennifer, a current client of Open Minds chime services:
When did you start on the chime program?
I’ve been on the chime program twice; once a couple of years ago and currently for the past few months. I was first diagnosed with mental illness when I was 19 and I am now 48 years old. After numerous diagnosis over the years, my final diagnosis is Border Line Personality Disorder (BPD) and Aspergers Syndrome. I get unwell at times however I live a good life despite the challenges. I enjoy playing the piano, having a meal with the family, cooking, listening to music, sketching and hanging out with my cat.
How would you describe chime?
chime is Recovery focused, it is holistic and looks at all of your life; housing, finances, medical supports, therapeutic support, employment, socialisation etc. chime provides emotional support, the opportunity to join groups and to learn skills to cope with life. chime really helps people get on their feet again after being in hospital. chime is a bit different, it’s not a clinical program or a peer led program, it’s in the middle.
I teamed up really well with my chime Case Worker, and that rapport is important to me.
She shows me respect and it’s someone to stand by me and support me to do it myself. When I ask her what I should do, she encourages me with questions which leads me to find my own answers which is the best way and good for my confidence. I like how non-judgemental she is.
She doesn’t make a big deal of things. We just consider it a speed bump and move forward. She shows a strong sense of hope for my future.
How has chime benefited you?
Since I have been on the chime program again, I have had fewer if any, admissions to hospital for mental health reasons. At chime, I have a Personal Support Plan which is developed by me with my Case Worker. We plan, set goals and work on strategies which help in my recovery and to prevent a crisis. Some of these strategies are based on mindfulness and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills such as ‘Wise Mind’ which assists me with distress tolerance and making wise choices. It helps to know yourself; knowing which ‘go to’ strategies and activities help at difficult times.
What’s your thoughts on the benefit of the Warmline?
It’s critical. Just to know that someone will be calling you at night or on weekends to touch base.
There are limited services on the weekends so people can be vulnerable. People can get lonely, bored, over-think things and start to spiral down.
Just to know that a call is booked and we are going to talk…it can really help to break the cycle.
Last Friday evening on the Warmline, I asked for some help to get my house organised and distract myself from some painful emotions and the possibility of self-harming behaviours, so we made a schedule of some housework jobs and I completed these on Friday night and Saturday morning. That helped me to get me through. Having an organised home is important to me. For me, a messy house indicates a messy mind.
Any other thoughts about chime?
Well, I say to others, give it a go. chime has really helped me to help myself. Life’s a choice. I can choose to sit here and do nothing or get up and do something that will give me a positive outcome.
If you’re interested in becoming a chime participant, you will need a referral from Queensland Health as you are not able to self-refer. Speak to your GP about a chime referral.
Open Minds is expanding its services on the Sunshine Coast. In addition to chime, Open Minds is now providing NDIS(National Disability Insurance Scheme) services to people with disabilities and with severe and persistent mental illnesses.
Want to find out more about how we can support you under the NDIS? Contact us today.