Two Hocking Fellows share their findings

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Our Hocking Fellows for 2019-20, Alison Salisbury and Liz Everard, have finalised projects exploring the needs of people affected by complex mental health issues. Spurred by their own lived experience as mental health carers, they advocate for more holistic and integrated support for people living with complex mental health issues, and their families.

How to better support mental health carers - Alison Salisbury

Alison headshot

As a clinical nurse educator with experience as primary carer for her son, who died by suicide at age 19, Alison puts the voices of mental health carers at the centre of her Hocking Fellowship Project.  

While caring for her son, Alison became acutely aware of the stress, fatigue, and burnout that came with her caring role, and the lack of integrated support services available to both her and her son in Tasmania.   

In her project, mental health carers share the impact of caring and their experience with support services, and Alison compares their stories with best-practice models for involving mental health carers in the provision of treatment and care.  

Based on her findings, she makes several recommendations on addressing the challenges carers face, so they can be better supported in their roles.     

As Alison writes, “My sincere hope is that this research will help further national conversations that allow carers to have their rightful place at the centre of the dialogue of effective, integrated care provision; to support continuity of care for vulnerable and mentally unwell consumers and empower carers to advocate more effectively on their own behalf and for those they care for.”

Read a summary of Alison Salisbury's project and recommendations.

The benefits of therapeutic farm communities for people with complex mental health issues - Liz Everard

Liz headshot

Liz has more than 20 years of experience in the mental health sector, and a passion for mental health advocacy that began with the suicide of her brother, who lived with schizophrenia.  

She envisages a future where people with complex mental health issues can access holistic mental health services that pay attention to the vocational and social aspects of recovery, enabling them to use their strengths, build confidence, and engage in meaningful work and community participation.  

Her Hocking Fellowship project explores therapeutic farm communities in the United States (US) and Ireland – farms that provide psychiatric treatment and a full continuum of care for adults with complex mental health issues.

Liz’s project aimed to establish how this holistic model of care for people with complex mental health issues can be delivered in Australia. While COVID-19 interfered with Liz’s plans to undertake immersive research through active participation in therapeutic farms overseas, she adapted her methods to the online environment.  

Additionally, through using her status as a Hocking Fellow to raise awareness of the therapeutic farming model, and it has become clear to Liz that there is a huge appetite for new, innovative models of care in Australia.  

Liz is currently working with her team to make therapeutic farming in Australia a reality through Thera Farms Australia, that aims to establish the first therapeutic farm for mental health recovery in Australia. They are currently seeking an investment of funds for a detailed feasibility study to examine the merits and viability of this model of care. 

Read a summary of Liz Everard's project

Last updated: 27 January 2022

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