For Men’s Health Week, Bruce Jones shares his experience and highlights the importance of Peer Workers who ‘know how to yarn’ in supporting the recovery journey of people in the bush.
How did you first become involved in your field?
Living in the bush, growing up on a 4,200 acre property and living through drought has thrown me a whole lot of challenges. One of these was finding myself in a situation where I experienced a serious mental health issue after my partner and I separated. I went off the rails so to speak and began to realise that I didn’t handle breakups well. I spent time in a mental health hospital, not once, but twice, and I attempted suicide a couple of times. On discharge from Hospital I became involved with Flourish Australia and my recovery journey snowballed- it got better and better. So much so, that I eventually obtained a job with them as a Peer worker.
Why should people come and listen to your talk?
I want to encourage people and let them know they can make a difference, and that they can get away from that stigma of mental health. This is something we can get across and get past with the right help. I’m an example of how a person’s life can change with the right help. My help came from Flourish Australia.
What’s one thing not many people know about you?
I used to do a lot of clay target shooting and really enjoyed it. I was in B grade which involved quite a bit of skill. I enjoyed a level of success within this hobby.
Why are you looking forward to coming to Adelaide?
I have been to Adelaide once before, twenty years ago in my truck driving days but never saw much. I went in during the night and left at night and that was it. I look forward to seeing all the beautiful sights I’ve heard about.
Where can people find out more about your work?
People can go to the Flourish Australia website to find out more about what Flourish Australia does.
TheMHS Conference 2018
S10: SNAPSHOTS: Wellness, Recovery, Suicide Prevention, Wednesday, August 29, 2018
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM, Riverbank Room 1
‘Stories of men's mental health recovery in a dry and dusty land.’
Bruce’s abstract for TheMHS Conference
Living in the bush, growing up on a 4200-acre property in drought, has thrown me lots of challenges. That includes finding myself in a situation where I experienced a serious mental health issue after a separation. It showed me how hard it is to get help out here. We're so often the forgotten part of Australia.
I went off the rails, so to speak, and spent time in a mental health unit in hospital twice. On discharge I became involved with Flourish Australia and my recovery journey has snowballed. So much, that I eventually obtained a job as a Peer Worker.
Working in isolated communities demonstrates the importance of employing local people, who know the local community and who know how to yarn. It's important to have staff who speak the local lingo and to show them local people have a lived experience.
Men from isolated farming areas are coming in droves to Moree Flourish Australia because they know they can find their people who understand them and know what the isolation they feel is like. This Snapshot will outline how Flourish Australia is responding creatively to support the recovery journey of people in the bush.
Bruce Jones is a Peer Worker with Flourish Australia. He lives in the "bush", also known as Moree, a small town in North Western NSW. He previously worked as a truck driver and concrete batcher before changing directions altogether and becoming a Peer worker in the Mental Health Sector. Bruce brings a down to earth approach to his service delivery and enjoys his work.