Fiona is making a difference to people’s lives as a Mental Health Nurse in our LiFT program. Fiona has been committed to supporting people with mental health issues for her entire adult life.
Fiona’s career has moved through some generational changes, including the way the mental health sector provides care. She has worked in hospitals and intuitions and since transitioned into community and person-centred models of care. Fiona became credentialed as a Mental Health Nurse in 2009 after completing her Post Graduate studies in Mental Health Nursing at Melbourne University, which opened further opportunities.
Fiona found an opportunity with Banyule Community Health through the Mental Health Stepped Care – LiFT program. She’s been with the program from the very beginning and has seen it grow and continue to expand. LiFT has pioneered the stepped care model, a holistic approach that supports people at every stage of their mental health journey. The stepped care model allows multiple healthcare workers to collaborate and find the best outcome for every person they help. It also means you can ‘step in’ or ‘step out’ if things get better, or worse.
Fiona’s work is person centred and caters to the individual needs of each person she supports. Accessing mental health services can be challenging and the LiFT team have worked to make that process a simpler approach, with no wrong door. The team is diverse, comprised of credentialed mental health nurses, social workers, psychologists, non-clinical staff, and peer support workers. There’s been many special moments in the LiFT program, and Fiona says that being able to improve people’s circumstances is the most rewarding part of her job.
For Fiona, the pandemic has highlighted the enormous demand for mental health services:
“So many people who have never experienced mental illness are now understanding the hardship of depression and anxiety. We’re all swimming in the same stream.”
Fiona practices self-care by finding activities that lift her up and doing them often. She enjoys spending time with her five kids and was singing in a local choir before the pandemic shut it down. Music is important to Fiona and her mental health, so she has pivoted to the guitar. She’s started practising with friends over video chat, they’re trying to learn a new song every week. Fiona says it’s important to
“take advantage of opportunities and say yes more often!”.
Thankyou Fiona, for helping make our community a better place.