In this week’s episode, Josh is talking to Tara Lord who was Finalist in the 2021 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards for Western Australia.
My name is Tara Lord. I am 23 years old, I work as a Youth programs Co-ordinator for a youth counselling and suicide prevention organisation and also work in a psychiatric hostel and as a community rehabilitation worker, I also have a role as a Youth Ambassador with the Mental Health Foundation of Australia and have volunteered with a number of organisations in the community. I have my own lived experience with mental health, and have always had a passion for helping people. One of my main passion lies where I run my own animal therapy business (Kupu Kupu Australia) , where I take my dog around to mental health and disability facilities, as well as schools, respite centres, aged care facilities, foster homes and much more. In WA there is little knowledge / services in animal therapy and that is something I am an advocate for to change hence I started my own business.
Animal Therapy is proven to reduce cortisol levels (stress hormone) and increase oxytocin, the love hormone.
I’m so lucky to have an incredible job where I’m able to share this with people. I have always loved animals, and I have seen from a young age the impact they have on people. I’ve always had a dog and they have always a brought so much joy to my life, whenever I was sick, sad, excited, anything, they were there for me. I have always had a passion for helping people, I learnt quite young the world is a scary place where terrible things happen, I knew from this moment on, I wanted to change the world in one way or another. I wanted to share love and happiness and be a voice raise to awareness for disability and mental illness. So I decided to start up Kupu Kupu Australia. Loki was adopted from SAFE Bunbury and after lots of training and hard work and gaining qualifications and accreditation as a therapy team, We work with private clients to overcome boundaries and join them on their journey in recovery. We visit schools for de stress days, visit hospitals and aged care facilities to spread some love and happiness, and work on recovery goals and facilitate programs and interventions to suit and help people’s medical/ recovery plans. Our plans for the next couple of years is to purchase a large property and add some more friends to our Therapy team (including lizards, cats, rabbits, donkeys, alpacas and much more) all rescue- this will be a fully functioning therapy ranch where clients can come for respite, rehab and much more. We also are hoping to have accommodation for families to come and have a getaway as well emergency accommodation for people experiencing domestic violence. Kupu Kupu means butterfly in Indonesia which represents the transformation into a better life. For me its about creating an inclusive environment and ensuring everybody has access, I think there is a lot of stigma in society around mental health, and I want to ensure that everyone feels welcome. I think it’s so important that we raise awareness and speak up about it, and I hope that within the work I do I can encourage people to do that. With all the work that I do I hope to break down barriers and reduce stigma in the community and raise awareness around mental health, I aim to be an advocate for change. I also recently received the Victoria Park Youth Citizen of the Year Award, and was a finalist in the 2019 and 2020 West Australian Young Achiever of the Year Awards, and am currently a finalist in the 2021 awards) I also recently completed the leadership WA course leadability which I found extremely empowering and just completed a training through the Mental Health Commission called recovery college facilitator training which I loved. I am always looking for ways to broaden my horizons and develop to support the community to work towards a shared goal of making a real difference 🙂
In this episode:
- We hear how Loki saved a person’s life and how he taught a young man to cook!
- Tara gave us a great way to ask someone if they are RUOK
- We learnt of Tara’s dream to have a Therapy Ranch one day
Connect with Kupu Kupu Australia on Facebook
Connect with Kupu Kupu Australia on Instagram
And Lokki even has his own Instagram Account! Loki the Therapy Dog
Want to know how to Rate and Review a podcast, see this article
Want to nominate someone? (It can take as little as 2 minutes to recognise someone making a difference)
Welcome to the inspirational australian’s podcast where we chat to people making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. And Here’s your host for today. Josh
Thank you Annette. So before we get started just like to acknowledge that I’m recording this podcast today on Bunnerong country and pay respect to the elders current past and future, and just acknowledge that their culture is extremely important. We can all learn a lot about where we are, which kind of a country where on ourselves and a lot of resources online. So encourage you to look at your local suburb and see what country you’re on. So Annette, good to be chatting to you today. Another podcast.
Now, the podcast
and the week, that’s right, people enjoy it, then we ask that they write it and review it because you let people know how they do that.
Sure can. I’m actually coming to you from Wurundjeri country. So even though Josh and I both in Melbourne, we both at different ends of Melbourne. Now to the other writing and reviewing. This is my thing. I love it. If you can write and review our podcast it helps more people find us. And we’ve just been voted the seventh, most popular inspirational stories podcast in Australia. So people are finding us which is pretty cool. Now I’ve written a little how-to on our website. So if you go to awards Australia dot com forward slash podcast, you’ll actually see the how to write and review. So we’ll get onto it explains.
And at the time of this podcast going to air then the young achiever would probably have launched around the country as well. So quick reminder to everyone to jump on to Facebook. Check out the seven news young achiever awards in your state or territory and get nominating some young people. And speaking of we’re actually going to be chatting with a white seven year young achiever award finalist from the last two years in Tara Lord. Now Tara is 22 years old and she works as a youth programs coordinator for a youth counseling and suicide prevention organization. Tara also works in a psychiatric hostel hostel, I should say. And that’s a community rehabilitation worker. And a youth ambassador with mental health foundation of Australia. One of his biggest passions is animal assisted therapy through her business, a group of Australia and Tara you can correct me if I got that pronunciation wrong. And she does that with a partner in crime Loki who we might get to meet during this chat. So welcome Tara, how are you doing today?
Yeah, good thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
No worries. Absolute pleasure. Did I get that pronunciation right with crupi group?
Yeah, that’s correct.
Lovely. Well, one of my first questions actually is what does that mean?
I say typically is actually butterfly in Indonesia say it represents like I guess your journey so gentle, but a life, a journey from the universe to the butterfly when I was little and I went to Bali and Indonesia, my family and I volunteered for a orphanage in Indonesia was a big part of my sort of growing up, should I say that sort of inspired me and I think it’s a huge sort of representation of recovery and mental health journey and really loved it. So that’s kind of where that came from.
Yeah, awesome. Well, I guess being in Perth or know around that area in WA, quite close to Indonesia.
Yeah. For sure. I think it’s a huge Australian thing. We love Bali. Definitely. Absolutely. And I think it’s for is about to have that sort of touch. It’s also a big icebreaker, educational thing which you can come from and it’s a big part of me as well. It’s nice to be able to incorporate that. Yeah,
I know just personally my first overseas trip was to Indonesia to Bali specifically. And even just opening your eyes to have different people live in different countries. And I think it really does just give people a bit more of perspective around life and I think for you volunteering I can only imagine that would have been very Powerful.
Yeah, I think it’s definitely a big eye opener and you get a kind of a diverse perspective on how other people live and yeah, it definitely inspires you just to kind of have a perspective and come back and do some more work in the community back here
Yeah, so what do you reckon you would have been when you were doing that?
know my family went to Bali lots when I was younger so probably the first time I went there I could have been maybe four or five and that was just literally playing with the kids. And you know, like drumming and taking bubbles and bouncy balls up there and I think that was a big thing for me as well. Like, you know, little bouncing balls we took out there and kids were like bouncing it is the best thing ever. Yeah, I’m safe in saying that as a kid was really awesome. Like I think a big perspective of growing up has been like, wow this basketball that we just get this shot for like 50 cents or whatever is like the most amazing thing for a kid over there. Yeah. So that was really awesome. And then yeah, probably went probably six or seven times after that growing up and then kind of
did more things as a family I think helped build like bathrooms and stuff out of there as well.
So in the community, kind of more, I
guess, as I grew older, more
bigger things. Yep.
Yeah, that’s really cool. That’s a kudos to your family for, for doing that and doing that in as part of your family trips. That’s really amazing. So you know, you’ve got a pretty cool story and doing so much already at only twenty to hundred. Twenty third birthday
Twenty three. Last month. Oh yeah. But I didn’t like change my things so much, but that’s
just behind or just so yeah I just turned twenty three last month is
how did you get so you’re working as a youth and youth counseling and suicide prevention and rehabilitation and mental health. How did you get started working in those fields?
Yeah, so I’ve got my own experience my own journey of mental health. But I think also as growing up like my mom kind of always joked that I just always had that personality sort of embedded into me like in school supposedly I was always that kid when I saw another kid come sit with us. My best friend of probably eight or nine years still remembers the day I actually came out and apparently I said you have no friends. Do you want to sit with? My gosh, that’s horrible. But like, obviously she’s my best friend and mentor for a genuine purpose. Yeah. You know, I always want to have that sort of looks like he is moving my camera.
Actually kind of funny, isn’t it? What, what you say at that age? I don’t really realize
I realize now kids have no filters and obviously I didn’t have a filter then.
But I think it came from a genuine smile and I think I just never wanted people to feel
alone or feel like I didn’t have anyone. So I think I always had that sort of embedded in me but then when I
went through my own journey and saw other people going through their journeys, I think I just really wanted to make a change and make a difference. So I actually wanted to be a vet when I first was very little,
but then when I realized like you had to do with animals and stuff I couldn’t do that
sounds like, well, why not people and also animals that kind of combine those
two. Yeah, yeah for sure. That is, that is very cool. Merging together of interests and passions to a you have to do something with your life. So what, what do you think led you to want to be involved with animals and work with animals?
I think I always notice from a very young age, just how
impactful animals are like, even
I don’t think you have to have a mental health journey or mental illness to realize how amazing animals are like even if you just got a stomach ache or a headache anyone that’s got animals realizes how much the animals recognize that like I remember one time I think I had my tonsils out or my appendix or something like that. And the dog came up and was like,
so I was like
Oh like giving me cuddles and pats I just know when you’re not feeling that great. And I was like this is better than like any sort of therapy or anything. I just know. And I think even when you’re just out in public and you see a dog or I
remember seeing like, you know, in school as if there was ever a dog around that someone
bought a dog to pick up their kid or whatever. You just see the smiles on people’s faces and it was just such an easy thing to make someone smile. And I think that was so important for me to recognize it was just such an easy way of making someone happy. And I mean is that true scientific research behind it as well that I’m just putting an animal can reduce cortisol, which is just stress hormone. And it can release oxytocin which is your glove hormone.
So there’s science behind it as well. It’s just, you know, seeing someone smile,
you know, it’s so true. And for myself, I’ve got a dog named arianda. If you’re just frustrated or a bit stressed out and he comes up and he’s got poor eyesight, which means he, he loves to come up and use his nose and have those need to see who’s there. And so you get a little cold nose on your head or something, but you can be annoyed you stop picking a pattern and you do feel a bit better.
Yeah that’s it.
So you know, I understand, I read something and you can tell if this is accurate or not. I read something that at one point you kind of had this idea like, Oh, I can invent animal and mental health. Things like working together and combine those two. But then you found out that it was a kind of already a do you think?
Yes, I remember when I was kind of thinking about it and I saw the impact the animals had. And I was like, man, I was thinking like I’m going to invent this I’m going to
invent animal assisted therapy thinking I was going to be like
the next big inventor. And then I kind of Googled it and I said, Oh, it’s already a thing. I’m an inventor but you know, so it’s kind of obviously happy. It was I think sometimes it’s amazing but I recognized that it really wasn’t in Australia, but also particularly W.A..
And I was like, well that’s not OK. Let’s make that a thing. So that’s kind of I guess when I started my journey and trying to make it more prevalent in W.A.
for sure, pretty tricky to actually invent something these days because it is, seems like everything exists but I agree with you hundred percent. That just because something exists doesn’t mean that it’s being done right. Or in your area or so I think it’s really cool that you weren’t put off by that that you just thought. Yep, this is great. I’m going to run with it. Thank you. So what came first was, was low key in your life or was could be to already existing or how did that kind of fall into place?
Yeah, so basically I didn’t have like you at the time. So we started our journey of I guess, looking for animals and I was really passionate about getting a rescue animal as well.
So that was I guess another thing around chiricahuas is always making like giving people a second chance. I guess I’ll give people a journey but giving animals a journey as well. So wanting to have any of the animals that I incorporated into the program the rescue
animals. So I started looking at rescue shelters.
I actually applied for like four or five dogs before I got lucky.
So I was at one place and we literally were about to get the dogs that had the full application and everything. And I said, yeah we’ll just go get the dog now. And they came back and you could just see the look on that face when someone has bad news
and they’re like, I’m so sorry someone, I don’t know how this has happened,but
someone’s applied for the exact same time as you and we just haven’t communicated and the doctor actually just got someone else. Oh no.
And so at the time I was devastated, but obviously it kind of was like it was meant to be because like he’s just be perfect. And great. So I took her home, started training her myself and sort of basic obedience and working her and doing like things like, my mom’s an excellent
umpire, and there’s a lot of kids around taking her, getting used to kids.
And then we applied for funding at the time I was living in the city of Melville.
So we applied for funding with them and we got funding from the mayor basically. OK. And we yeah that was really awesome. So we got with that I think it was called Project Robin hood. So you basically present a Project and then you get funding from your projects approved
when we got as approved. So with that and with some savings we were able to go over to Melbourne.
And complain it’s a cost accommodation so it’s called lead the way. So we were able to complete that
and get accredited as a therapy team. So we came back and we’re one of the first
therapy teams in W.A. and then started up
for Australia and basically linked in
with agencies and services and stuff that we thought
needed us. And then also started getting like one on one client as well.
That’s cool. So what was the trip like to Melbourne and back We’d located you drive the flyer.
Yeah. So we flew so we flew over to Melbourne. We stayed on like a little farm and stuff which was awesome. So like he was I remember obviously like said, company cross
is quite funny at the time she was like, running around these horses. I think she was trying to like them or whatever. And then they were just starting to like, what are you doing? That was quite an experience, but yes, it was a week long
course. We stayed up on the farm for a week
and then the days were about eight or nine hours. I think so
it was that anything from going into facilities or learning tricks and trainings and putting them in scenarios as well as that I had to go up to like five animals for
example And that I would obviously be curious but they weren’t able to react in an aggressive manner. Or they were able to had situational things. They might have some one
thing their arms up in the air or get aggressive or a situation that I might come to and I have someone who’s living with mental illness disability. So then they can sort of Be
like, Oh, what’s going on But I can’t react aggressively basically to checking that they’re going to be suitable for a therapy
dog. And then at the end,
they got accredited, or they did it basically, and he was lucky enough to be accredited. So
That’s quite intensive actually. Yeah. Well, what was, I guess what was a two part question? What was the hardest part of that training and what was the highlight?
The highlight was
definitely saying like all the different dogs like I think I went in there imagining that it would be like
golden retrievers and Labradors and stuff. Because you imagine that that sort of stereotypical
but it was honestly a lot of like the weirdest looking dogs but dogs ever, which was amazing.
Yeah. I think that’s definitely one thing I really liked about it was it was kind of
breaking down that stereotype of typical dogs. And it was just these weird looking dogs but beautiful dogs and I went into the facilities like I remember this one dog that was like, let’s look like a horse like it was so big and we were looking. And the look on the elderly when we went into the facility just they just started laughing as soon as the dog walked in because dogs are going to come in. Yeah. And then this dog walked in and that itself made them laugh. And I remember the aged lady saying I don’t think I’ve seen this person laugh and the whole four years I’ve been here. Well, even within that moment before that even had any sort of interaction with the therapy dog padding like that already made it
impacts. That’s huge. Isn’t it?
Yeah, and that’s one thing that I’ve found with
animals is a therapy. That’s not even
necessarily having a therapy dog that’s really little things like it’s
a name is like you say, sometimes it’s a connection to the movie or sometimes silly things she did like one time or a park and she snuck off and jumped into a
river and the kid thought it was hilarious and started laughing and again apparently this kid had left in two years. So sometimes it’s not always
panning the dog or having clinical
therapy sessions. It’s actually just like
having a really silly interaction that they might not normally get to have.
And that’s a really
awesome, Powerful challenge, like he absolutely loves
bulls and fetch and she had to sit and drop for like five minutes. And while bouncing a bull in front of her, she wasn’t allowed to react. And that was very that was her most challenging thing. I think she was like, Oh my gosh I was the bull. And you can see on her face. But she managed eventually was really
good effort. So a very important question. You know, you’ve named the dog Loki or was Loki already named when you had a
nice day like he was actually originally named jasmine. We’re trying to change it to Loki
now. So you MCU fan, is that why the marvel movies? No, I
do love marvel but also I remember spending so much time trying to figure out what I wanted to call her. She is very cheeky as well, which I think the name got to mischief but also say another thing around, pretty much
obviously I want to add feature animals to Australia
and I wanted to have
names that were like relatable and connecting to
the kids or people that would be coming to the facilities. I think that
Yeah, like I said, it’s actually a great icebreaker. And it’s just the small things like that that create a connection instantly as well. Like even as soon as you say, look at people like Oh thank you from Thor and say that connection. I just adopted two kittens and then nolla and Lelo.
And again, straight away it’s not like from Lion King and they don’t start to
have that connection straight away and you’ve got something to talk about,
even if it’s not straight away. Therapeutic clinical or anything like that.
It’s a connection and you’ve got that human connection even if it’s not there.
Yeah, yeah, so the name doesn’t have to be marvel but it does have to be Disney within the Disney. Now, that’s great. So yes, we’ve adopted those Cats. Are they just for your pets? Are they going to be maybe therapy animals as well?
Yeah, so basically my ultimate dream is to have a therapy match and have purchased property and have people come there for respite and facilities. I’ve got a community garden and programs there.
So any animal that I’m currently adopting,
I just bought my first house and I started at the pros and cons of that is that I can adopt an animal whatever I want and stop me. And the,
because the, I want to say
to them, I don’t put you out of sight. But
yeah, so basically right now that just little kittens running around the house. But definitely that we’re doing the whole sort of, I don’t know how much I love it but smuggling them
as much as I possibly can. So that they get used to as kittens. So that then when they come to the therapy ranch, they’ll be considered therapy. Cats
and how is like reacted to these two new creatures
surprisingly well. Say, she
is quite weird around Cats. She’s like, Oh, what is this? And she steps back and I’m like
I’m not really sure you realize you’re much bigger than them and you always scary. But
I think we all know that Cats will the world as far as Cats are concerned.
Yeah. But now she loves them and they cuddle and they yeah they love each other like I’ll come home from work if I wouldn’t have like you
with me and they’re in the same bed and they’re going up there. And it’s very very cute. So that’s beautiful.
I can tell that you’re really passionate about animals and helping people. Can you tell us about some of the stories of people who you’ve met along your journey unlucky and how you’ve had an impact with them?
Yeah absolutely. So I think we’ve just been really lucky that we’ve been able to meet some incredible people that have had a
And I remember
one girl that we worked with.
She had said that he had literally saved her life. And I was like, what do you mean by that? And this was my way of working within the hostel. And she
said that at
times she just wouldn’t be able to handle her
voices and also her own thoughts. And basically she, one night was struggling a lot and she
was feeling like she just couldn’t live anymore and she didn’t want to live anymore. And one of the workers had said that, look just to keep you excited. He’s coming in tonight.
Not at all knowing that this was the way this person was feeling just letting her know that’s what the program was for.
And she was all right, well, I’ll stay low key and then I’ll
what I’m going to do. And then she saw like you spent some time ago and she said I literally just felt so like it was medicine and I felt so good that in that moment I just
overwrought. And then she ended up disclosing to staff how she was feeling and going into hospital
and getting the help that she needed. And then we ended up finding out and going and visiting her in hospital as well, being alongside her journey of recovery, which was absolutely amazing. You know, whatever it was that
a connection that her like you had was just being able to
bring that forward and bring her. And that sort of darkness, obviously didn’t take her away completely but it was able to get her the help that she needed which was really incredible.
Yeah, that is incredible. That is truly life saving because all it takes is one moment to it.
And that, and she has said multiple times that she feels that it’s like medicine when she spends time it, and that that is truly impactful. Powerful. Which is just amazing.
Yeah. And you know, we visit to people who have not so that they could leave the house because of the anxiousness that they’re feeling.
So we visited a lady who hadn’t left the house in two years
and we did small steps. So webasically
would go out the back and we’d just walk around the garden with her
and take a look around the garden and then we’d take her to the mailbox and really small steps. And by the set at the third session with her, we actually went to the shops with her.
And it was just amazing because yeah, like I said she hadn’t left our house in two years and it
wasn’t really anything to do with me. It was overdog because she just loved the dog so much and
we were able to do small things as well. Like I think it’s really interesting because people often ask what’s animals like, what do you actually do? Like just sitting there and having a chat with them while the dog and sometimes it is and sometimes like be go to aged care facilities. It’s
them just patting the dog and that makes them feel great.
And sometimes it’s a distraction as well. Like for this lady, she
wanted the dog, like the dog, make her feel comfortable to go to the shops.
And then we had a similar situation where
a young boy he was living with autism. He wanted to move out
but he didn’t sort of had the foundation skills to be that coach didn’t know how to clean that sort of thing.
And he didn’t want to learn that might not be right. And so we tried to kind of incorporate looking into it because he loved life. So we were like, OK well
look like he really need some like meat and veggies for dinner tonight. So how about we cook some and then he was
like I love like that. Let’s do it. So we were learning to cook meat and veggies technically because it’s the same as cooking humans. We were just doing it for like, yeah,
and I was like well technically we need to actually make us some dinner as well while we’re doingit.
fine or safe to cook. Well he didn’t actually realize he was there.
And then I was, I should remember some dog biscuits they made like peanut butter dog biscuits. And I was like, Oh I could get some chocolate chip cookies and milk or something because I’m still kind of like utilizing her as a distraction as well. So there’s different ways of incorporated her into like daily life skills, a goal orientated practice as well. So it’s like there’s so many different ways of
doing it is it’s not always like just basic therapy. So it’s super interesting.
Yeah. So can I ask you this question When you’re saying people have to ask you how it works because I did want to know that as well with your clients is it through, you know, people find you through or is it through your other realms view them use counseling and things like that as well.
Yeah, honestly, it’s a complete variety so I’m really lucky with my spices that I get to incorporate.
Some of the work that I do. If I came into them,
I was a supportive and they’re very,
I guess holistic focused. They’re super keen to get on board with what I do as well.
And then I also work with my kid
peekapoo as well. So some of my work is through coocoo and I get content with that. And then I also take liking to my
part time works as well.
Yeah. So a bit of both and then I’ve also previously worked for places like health Care Australia as well. But that’s like being like my client will be really good and then
asked me to go see their clients. That makes sense.
Yeah sure. Yeah. So that’s really interesting. And you mentioned earlier that you’ve had your own journey with mental health and kind of that experience as you’ve grown up as that, Do you think that’s helped you as well Not only working with lokey but just relating to people and being able to to help them.
Yeah definitely. I think as well when you’ve been sort of through things yourself as well, you can
connect to people on a different level as well. I think it’s one thing
to be able to study it as well which is helpful, but I think when you can connect with people on like an emotional level as well
and everyone’s journey is different. I think even if you have the same mental illness or whatever as someone your journey is completely different what one person’s depression looks like is completely different from another
But I think when you have that broad duration experience and you’ll be able to actually be like, OK, I don’t get it but I do get it. That’s so Powerful. And I think when we stop being less robotic and more human and I
taking away from the mental illness that we just be like, yeah, that’s shit and I get it like I’ve,
I’ve been there.
I haven’t been in your situation but I’ve been to the point where I just, I’m struggling and that sucks.
think that’s so important because I think
sometimes we do
as a society we do contribute to that toxic positivity. When someone’s telling us that what they’re struggling with and not feeling like they want to get out of bed or whatever and we do, that’s
all but you’ve got so much to live for. And sometimes
we just need to sit with them in that sadness and be like that’s shit and I’m really sorry
and allow them to feel that way because at the end of the day,like
sometimes life is crap. And we just have to acknowledge that. And so I think it’s a really Powerful thing to know what it’s like to be in that situation and be able to kind of, I guess, facilitate that conversation. I think. Yeah, we, as a society we definitely shut down mental health conversation. So being able to sit there in comfort and talk about it is so important, I think.
Yeah, I think that’s brilliant advice because I think sometimes and against my own personal opinion we jump to trying to provide advice or suggestions or things or trying to solve the problem to me sometimes it can’t be solved or at least not right there then. And I think what happens
sometimes of course like you, of course you want to help and you want to encourage it and that could come eventually. But sometimes it’s just I just want someone to listen. And I
just want someone to acknowledge because I think that, that sometimes we’re aware that it will get better.
Is that cheesy, and I’m all for cheesy.
My favorite thing that there’s a rainbow at the end of every storm.
And I truly believe that but sometimes it’s just nice for someone to acknowledge that what you’re feeling
because sometimes times you feel a lot. And I think a big problem in societies,
especially when it comes to accessing services is people don’t feel like they’re unwell enough or sick enough to access
service. If you’ve got a headache or if you’ve got a migraine or whatever.
A lot of people go to the doctors but not when it comes to mental health services. They’re like
Oh well I’m not,
I’m not, I’m well enough to go see a soccer counsellor and people don’t recognize that you don’t actually have to have a full diagnosed mental illness. To go see a counselor, you can just go there for a chat. And by shutting down conversations and always being a
candidate to get better, we stop people from going in and having this conversation. So I think it’s really important that we just open up more to people just like I’m feeling
right now. Like I’ve got this day and I think it’s so important that we actually start recognizing what to say if someone’s not like me. I think especially as Australians about how you go and we don’t actually ever expect someone to respond after that.
Maybe it’s important that we actually stop being genuine when we ask them, how are they going to respond or know what to say after they do respond?
Yes, good point. Well, on that note I’m wondering if if you can give me a little bit of advice or point me in the right direction. If I was OK, there’s really an initiative. What’s a way that you can? I’m asking for more effective as a male like I was reaching out to the other male friends to say OK, I’m obviously are you OK? That’s a really good excuse to do so. But just in day to day life do you have any suggestions on how might be a good kind of way to reach out and ask people that question because I feel like sometimes I know if me person. I’m a little bit hesitant just to even talk to me in a couple of weeks and just say hey, are you okay? Like it seems like a weird thing to ask. Yeah,
I think it is definitely hot and I think like
sometimes as I was saying, I think it’s recognizing like why do you think the Nordic as well like maybe you mean like hey, like I noticed like
been as talkative as much like is anything you want to talk about or all that sort of thing, but I think as well sometimes it’s important to recognize like you might not be
the right person. Is that like I know when
I was struggling like everyone was like, you know, talk to your parents or talk to your teacher especially when you’re younger. That’s something that people really emphasize
like talk to your parents and not everyone has a relationship with their parents. They can talk to or talk to your teacher,
but not everyone might be able to talk to their teacher. So I think it’s really important that we like, I guess raise awareness that
there’s so many people you can talk to your teacher or your parents or your friends or your family, or like a counselor or GP or
services that we can co-ops that sometimes I think it’s evenlike
I even, I guess doing what I am be like all I heard about is really like
good said if I, if I’m going to make sure that I use that
whatever kind of like making it known about them.
Yeah, that’s a good idea with suggestion. Good idea. Yeah, yeah I like that a lot. So you know, speaking of your experience, was there someone or something that was able to to help you or that you found really supportive?
Yes, I think definitely for me, again, it was I think there’s a lot of stigma when you’re younger as well. I think people look at you and you just feel like what could you possibly have to be upset about this I think that’s something we need to break down. Definitely the dog. My dogs helped but yeah, I think especially in school it was just like talking to a
school counselor, that sort of thing. But I think for young people or
anyone in general it’s like accessing like a GP. You can access mental health plan and get like ten different, ten free or twenty three sessions of mental health service. And like when I found that out, that is so important because I think
you hear so much about how expensive psychologists are and stuff and I’m like, I’m not going to be able to afford that or whatever.
yeah, I had someone point me in that direction and I think what’s really important to remember as well is it’s not again it’s not that you have this severe mental illness that you need to
exercise it is if you’ve just got
small struggles or whatever you want to consider as you can access those because I think as well, the way that we start reducing statistics in the way that we start having these conversations is before it gets serious
like start having that conversation. So then you reduce that it makes sense, but Yeah,
yeah, by opening up before it gets serious. That’s when we start reducing those statistics. I
know it sounds crazy when you put it like that doesn’t it?
But it’s, it’s definitely important because I think, you know, we do at my work we do this presentation about the mental health continuum. And there’s
the end of the spectrum and the status that the green and the red. And the red is when you
haven’t spoken about it and got into severe mental illness. And I think that sometimes if you just need fuel in your body to get back to the brain. And I think that like when you start getting down it is because you haven’t had those checks and you haven’t opened up and haven’t got the help that you need. So yeah, sometimes again easier said than done. I totally get it. There’s so much stigma on this and many barriers to it, but yeah it’s definitely
by creating that awareness and the community
and reducing that stigma of actually talking about it. We can make a big difference. Yeah.
Well I love your Segway. I think it was intentional on your behalf but I was actually wanting to talk to you about awareness in the community and some of your work. I understand that you’ve presented at schools and things like that as well. You know, with lokey. And of course, what’s that like in comparison to you know, your dealing with clients or people one on one and then you go and talk to big group. If you feel comfortable doing that.
I think when I first started I definitely was like it was very overwhelming.
think now I just get
like I just say these young people and I just want to grab them and be like, this is like mental health. We should talk about it like,
I think your passion grows. The more that you see how much is not spoken about.
And I think especially the more that I started talking about it like I realized how much it was shut down.
Like when we do a power I talk about suicide for example, and you literally stay in the room basically step back as soon as you say the word suicide. And I’m like, this is why our statistics are so high because no one wants to talk about it. And I get it like it’s, it’s horrible and it’s harsh, but we have
does a statistic like one young person died by suicide every week. And three thousand three hundred nineteen people I think died in twenty nineteen.
And it’s like these statistics are so high because no one wants to talk about it and no one knows how to get help. And these
young people, they don’t know how to get help. When their friends say, I want to take my life whatever that know how to handle it. And it’s because they don’t know how to handle it that we haven’t given them the
I think that
drives my passion to talk about it. Because I think at the end of the day as many other present as I’m going to do it than who is. Yeah.
Do you think, you know, from just from what you’ve personally seen, that things are changing in a positive way in terms of school school age kids, talking about it a bit more from what you’ve seen when you’ve done presentations and things likethat.
I definitely think it’s getting better and I think like going out and doing presentations are really great because I think that, you know, even if you touch one person or two people, three people then they might go and tell one person. And then it’s kind of like a domino effect. They know that they tell another batel another, and that’s how we start conversation. We start education. But it definitely needs to become, I guess, better and more aware like
maybe listening to us doing it right now. But that should be like
two because we could make such a difference if more of us spoke about it. And it just, I guess more honest conversation is really important because especially with that young people, their brains aren’t fully developed and they don’t know how to regulate their emotions completely and self. So we have to give them that. We have to speak to them about it and yeah, I think as well, especially when they’re going through that sort of debt teen angst. And that stuff, it’s like, well is this normal or is this mental illness I don’t know. And so it’s like teaching them how to decipher between those two. So
with your day to day work the presentations you’re doing and somehow you also find time to not only obviously care for your animals, you’ve bought a house and you do volunteering and you recently completed a leadership course. Do you have any, any time just for you in your life?
Yeah, I definitely didn’t used to be good at that,
but I definitely try and always make sure that I make time for myself now. I think that’s something that I’m
really big on. I learnt a while ago that it’s easy to burn out when you don’t make yourself. So I just make sure that I
do something easy for the easy to self care for myself and I think
that’s another big thing as well. I remember when I first had self care and I thought it was one of
those names that you do not names. But like pictures you see of like
people just like meditating and like yoga which is amazing. I’m not taking away from that or trying to be offensive to that at all.
That doesn’t work
for everyone and that doesn’t work for me at the self care. Like I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.
But recognizing in a self case that you like that I’m going to come home and I really want cookies. I baked cookies and I felt so good after I did that. Like you take a warm shower or you
take a dog for a walk or you call a friend or call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
You know, put some particular when it can be just some small bit like
just makes you feel better
and I think that’s really important as well. Is that it just something small that you like
even telling yourself what? I
have got a big day, like what something small that I’m going to do at the end of the day just to make myself present and make
myself be able to go to sleep at night. That’s what I do.
Know that’s awesome. I know what you mean about thinking like what is self care because my wife was pregnant. I had a very gender stereotypical view of lots of cables. And I kept, she kept saying to me like why keep, let me have a boss like? Because I are just going to have a bath yet, and I was like, Oh intensive care units and stuff. And she’s like, I don’t have to have a bath. I can do other things like a really good point.
Yeah, that’s it. Yeah.
So that’s, that’s funny. But I wanted to ask you as well about being named a finalist in the seven years young achiever, what’s the you a finalist in twenty twenty last year and also this year in the first national real estate leadership award, which obviously what we’re hearing about is very very fitting. So what was it like to go back to last year when you were first kind of announced as a finalist in the awards? Yeah. What was that kind of feeling like?
Yeah, it was, it was definitely a huge honor, but it’s also like always very overwhelming and very it’s very exciting. But I think I always like even I’m really like contact me and getting an
award nominations and stuff like it’s always quite an interesting experience. Like it’s very exciting and very overwhelming but I’m always like
the people that I work with like they should be getting the people and stuff like you always come to this kind of like, I think self realization that I struggle to say like why you’re
getting nominated for these awards and stuff which I think is really interesting experience because you put all this like compliments and passion into your friends and your family
and stuff but it’s hard to recognize the work that you are doing. But I think definitely yeah it’s an honor and it’s amazing but I think that
I just look back on it
because I feel like what inspired you to do it and stuff. And I’ve met with people that I work with. Like, honestly,
that’s inspired me to do what I’m doing, but I think it just makes me very grateful to have the people in my life that makeme
get where I am like I literally,
I have time. So I’m just like Oh you know what, this is just like I don’t know if this is working or this is going to happen.
And then you have this people who are cut off and you’re going to do amazing like you don’t let you
I guess go into bed
and you could be gone for a little bit and then you going to get up and go and shoot for the stars and you’re going to do what you want to achieve. Yeah. So I guess you kind of go through all these different emotions. You’re like, I’m really immoveable. Well, but I’m really excited and you’re like,
I don’t deserve this more than, you know, this is
great. I’m so happy like it’s a really amazing experience and you go
as well when you go to the awards you’re sitting in this room and you just feel so
grateful but also so I guess it’s like the people who are up for the awards as well. Are just incredible.
Yep. Well, that’s a good point you made because about sometimes even when you’re in, when you’re in it day to day when you’re living it it’s hard to kind of take that step back and look from someone else’s perspective on the impact that you’re having in the positive messages you’re sending out to the community and so it can be easy to tell exactly what you said, Oh I don’t deserve this or whatever. Everyone around you obviously was, was telling you the opposite. So that’s good. Thank you. So I did want to ask this question and let me know if it’s a bit awkward, but obviously you were a finalist years in a row and not named the winner. And so what I want to know is, was that still a positive experience for you, or did you leave feeling a bit disappointed?
No, I absolutely didn’t feel quite honestly I, when I look at
the people who were up for nominations or actual finalists or winners, I think, you know, said, but you like I am honored just to be here and be in the room with all these people who are nominated and who are finalists like I think for me
like it was just I literally left feeling like so energized for the from the community
like I remember
that was a few different stories who really like touched me and I was like, I literally I think I would want to win next to those people actually like
what you actually I don’t know like to me it’s not like
a sport is kind of where I’m like I want to beat you to me like I’m actually honored that other people took that position like
you honestly deserve that. So
yeah, for me it’s an honor to be there honestly is that to me it’s not about
winning It’s about being in there and people being recognized what they’re doing.
So yeah it’s, it’s great to be there but I don’t feel like
I have any particular loss. So if I get the award I
get the award.
Yeah. Well it’s, it’s a really nice observation. It’s something that I have noticed at around the country and the different awards events that I’m lucky enough to to attend this year. I got to travel interstate and attend events which seems bizarre now being in Melbourne But at that time, Yeah it is actually pleasantly surprising in some ways to see the finalists who perhaps before that night didn’t know each other hadn’t met and just like really applauding the other person when you know their fellow finalists was announced the winner congratulating them and just so happy for them and it’s In a world where a lot of people are trying to get ahead and it’s nice to say that I think,
I think, and I think as well a lot of the work that the people who are there doing they’re doing it because they love what they do and they want to make a difference. And I think when you see other people’s passion you see that they’re doing it and you’re like, Oh my gosh, you are doing amazing work like you just happy and proud. And you almost
feel like a proud mom or system when you watch them and hear what they’re doing.
Just genuinely feel wholesome and warm when you hear people’s stories.
remember I was like sitting there like listening to some people’s stories and speeches and I was like crying like, I didn’t even know this person, but this is so beautiful and amazing. I genuinely think it’s a beautiful space to be and I don’t think that Well, not for myself anyway. There’s any sort of competitiveness when it comes to it. It’s just a space to recognize that the work the community is doing. And I think as well, especially at certain times of world can be such a dark place and to be able to be a in that world is a really amazing honor. And I think
in that room that somebody likes and and it’s just about recognizing that it’s not about winning as such. And of course it’s an awards ceremony. It’s going to be a winner. But
to me it does matter. Yeah.
That was a beautiful way to put it. There was so many lights in that room that was really nice. Thank you. So you know, having been a finalist now and being through the process and being part of it, would you recommend to other people that they know if they know someone who’s doing great things that they nominate that young person?
Yeah definitely. I think that’s really important that
people recognize what other people are doing. I think if people ever
get just to be recognized, the good work that people are doing like I say like it’s the world can be crappy sometimes and just recognize a lot star in the world. The difference is that people are making
there’s so much negativity in the world. Why not recognize all the positives in the world?
I think on the news we see so much
negative stuff. Why don’t we stop talking about the positive stuff and making awareness posters that are out there And I think that’s why these polls are so important because you’re sitting there and you’re hearing all these amazing stories. And I’m like why have I not heard about this person before Because you were incredible. Like I hear about this person who’s done this horrible thing and I don’t want to hear about you, but I want to hear about this amazing person this young person like send them out on the news because you’re incredible and you just generally about yes, definitely.
That’s one of our aims is just to, you know, as you said, there’s a lot of negativity in the news in the media. And our aim is to try to flip that script and just push it as many positive stories as we can. And so we’re very grateful to someone used to come aboard to help us do that. And in your category the first national real estate leadership award, we’re lucky that they are a national sponsored partner of ours. And so we do have the leadership award available in every state and territory of Australia. So for anyone listening, if you know a great leader you can dominate them No matter what state you’re in or territory for that matter. So hopefully a lot of people are hearing this and thinking I want to know more about animal assisted therapy because it’s such an interesting topic and it just sounds great. Where can people get in contact with you and could be
Yeah, so we have a Facebook page like
Australia, we also have an Instagram page and the email and stuff is on there as well. I believe. And he also has an Instagram which I believe is also linked onto the Facebook page.
Oh OK. I didn’t realize like he had his own self to check that out. Yeah. For sure. Yeah. So for those wondering creepy, creepy, was creepy. Know that’s twice creepy creepy. So you can easily find it online and you know, I heard lokey kind of making a few noises throughout. She’s still there.
Yeah. She’s still here. She’s a bit of a attention seeker,
but it’s what it is every now and then just poking up.
She was wanting pounds, so yes she’s still here.
Yeah, that’s great. And so sometimes I just like this question but you’re so young. I want to ask it anyway. But I was going to ask you what’s next for you. And the reason I said I just like it sometimes is because you’re already doing great things and there’s no, there should never be expectation that you have to do more. But I know for a fact that you said before you wanted to, your goal is to have a wrench and things like that. So I do want to ask the question what’s going to next for you and lucky?
Yeah, so for us we’re hoping to basically purchase a property and create a therapy ranch. But we’re also just currently trying to, I guess, create connections for what we do developer. And so we want to have sort of a community garden and
yoga classes, music therapy classes all that sort of stuff.
And we’re also trying to have conversations with I guess the councils and community in general about raising awareness for animals as a therapy. So there’s not as many, I guess therapy dog access as much as we would like. So basically trying to fight that when it comes up for review. So that is our
current case, of course.
And then yeah, I guess just keep doing what we’re doing with the city, but if you like, lived there, she goes again, living sitting on a few lived experience sort of advisory
committees with the mental health commission which we found like really interesting to actively make change in a few different services. So just a
few more of those and just hopefully
get out and yeah, make some more change and access to female services as well.
Beautiful. Oh, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat to us so much. Yeah it was absolutely fantastic talking to you and wish you all the best on the rest of your journey.
Thank you so much.
Hope you enjoyed that interview. If you liked it or any of our other episodes, it would be great if you can write and review the inspirational australian’s podcast. It really helps us out someone, you know, it’s a little dose of inspiration. Why not let them know about this podcast? And if you haven’t already, make sure you subscribed, so that you won’t miss an episode. Join us each week as we talk with ordinary Australians, achieving extraordinary things. You can always head to our website at awards Australia dot com slash podcast for more information and details on each guest. Now before we go, I’d like to thank Annette our producer. Here’s a fun fact, and that is my mum and our other hosts. Geoff is my dad. This podcast is brought to you by awards, Australia, a family owned business that proudly uncovers the stories of people who make a difference for others. We can only do this with the support of our corporate and not for profit partners as they make our awards programs possible. So do you know someone making a difference? If you’d like to recommend someone to be guest on the podcast, get in touch through your Instagram page, inspirational Australians, or maybe your business might like to sponsor the podcast or get involved with the awards. We run head to website awards Australia dot com for more details until next week. Stay safe and remember together we make a difference.
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