Guest Blog: LikeMind's Sharon Lyon

In the next instalment of our series featuring guest contributors, LikeMind’s Senior Clinician and Registered Nurse, Sharon Lyons, shares her thoughts on the importance of sourcing and using networks available in the community to help job seekers with mental health conditions.

LikeMind provides support to adults with mental health concerns, as well as their families and carers, bringing together existing community services to one accessible and engaging community space to develop an integrated service hub of co-located help and support. LikeMind (Uniting Church) appointed Global Skills as their Vocational Consortium partner for their Seven Hills and Penrith offices in 2016.

“At LikeMind we have seen an increased demand for our services since the start of the pandemic for people who have found themselves out of work for the first time. With the uncertainty created by the crisis our consumers are experiencing a form of grief and rejection.

“For young people with a mental health condition, when they find themselves unemployed they tend to blame themselves rather than look at the big picture and see that this is a world-wide issue. Many were casually employed so they were the first to lose their jobs.

“Older people who have lost their jobs feel a sense of grief and loss. They have worked for decades and now have no routine, are engaging with Centrelink for the first time, and have never had to ask for help in the past.

“We spend a third of our time at work and when that is taken away a lot of people reach for unhealthy ways of coping with stress and their “shame” of losing their work. This could be in the form of turning to drugs and alcohol, becoming aggressive and thinking negatively.

“As a consequence, we have become a sounding board and source of comfort and knowledge for our consumers so that they can feel less afraid about the unknown. We work with our consumers so we can help them move into a mindset where they are able to reflect upon who they were in that job and not blame themselves.

“Importantly our extensive network within the community allows us to provide the wrap around services our consumers need. Our Community Development member is strongly connected with all the services available in the area and can quickly refer us to an appropriate provider. Global Skills is the provider we turn to when it comes to finding employment for our consumers.

“Other services we connect with include

  • Penrith Women’s Health Centre
  • Wentworth Community Housing
  • University of Third Age
  • Nepean Community College
  • Village Café
  • Men’s Walk and Talk
  • TAFE and
  • sexual assault services, drug and alcohol, financial counselling and gambling support

“It is important that people realise that they are not alone.”

To learn more about LikeMind and their services please click here.