News • 15 Feb 2024

Valerie finds renewed energy with Head to Health support

Hands held up high to the sunshine in the sky

Open Minds Lismore Head to Health delivers post-flood counselling support, providing valuable opportunities to heal after being impacted by the 2022 floods.

Valerie, aged 73, felt lost and unsure of her next move after being rescued from the roof of her flooded home almost two years ago.

Eligible for free counselling sessions, Valerie was hesitant to accept the help at first.

“I felt a bit of a fraud calling because it seemed to me that I had made it through the whole flood experience quite calmly,” Valerie said.

“The voice on the other end of the phone was warm and friendly, and I was given an appointment to begin my healing journey with the lovely team.

“Right from the first visit, I received friendly relaxed kindness and respect but more importantly to me, acceptance, because I was still feeling undeserving of the support.

“It wasn’t long before my counsellor, Nyesha, helped me to discover that I was indeed quite stuck and struggling to make decisive actions.”

In addition to one-on-one counselling with Nyesha, Valerie joined a Wellbeing Art Journalling group also facilitated by the Head to Health team, where many members had been impacted by flooding.

It was through these group sessions that Valerie was able to connect with like-minded members and express herself through art.

Valerie art journalling through Open Minds Head To Health
Valerie’s art journals provided her with means to express herself and heal

“The process of counselling and art journalling was nourishing and encouraging mentally and emotionally – and for me, it had the effect of bringing me back to my own quiet centre.

“What I noticed as a result of the support was the energy shift that set in motion not only what I needed to do but also brought about other positive changes and opportunities for me.

“Is that a miracle or is that the result of really good counselling? Definitely the latter!” Valerie said.

Valerie knew after the floods that they would need to move, but it wasn’t until after the support from Head to Health that she was able to take action and start visiting estate agents.

Her search for a new home continues in the Lismore area but away from the flood risk zone.

Valerie recommends that victims of natural disasters such as floods should accept counselling help regardless of whether they feel they are suffering or deserving.

“I didn’t feel like a shaking nervous wreck, but I did have some issues about losing the place I thought I was going to live in until I died,” she said.

“I believe people should seek help because sometimes we need someone else to listen and help us see where we might be stuck.

“Nyesha’s counselling helped me look inside and find my own strengths.”

Open Minds operates Head to Health in Lismore, Kingaroy and Ipswich, providing mental health support to the local communities via walk-in and pre-booked appointments.

Call 1800 595 212 to book an appointment or visit the Head to Health website to find out more.

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