• Steph Stephens, SJC Community Worker

The power of connection and being heard

This week I was busy in my office catching up on some administration when one of the volunteers asked me if I was available to see a person, whom we shall call Robert, as he needed to talk to someone. I stopped what I was doing and called him into my office. I had seen him before and had built up a good rapport with him.

Initially, Robert just talked about the weather, and how his dog had been unwell and a lot of other peripheral topics. However, I knew he was trying to get to the real reason why he had come to St John’s Care. I offered him a cup of tea and a sandwich as I noticed he had lost a bit of weight since I’d last seen him. He was grateful for the cuppa and sandwich.

Previously, I had referred him to Centrelink, Street Legal and a GP and so I asked him how things were going. He said that he had his disability pension application in place and Street Legal were also helping him. He went on to say that his doctor had told him he was suffering from depression.

I knew that was a possibility, so I let Robert elaborate on how he was feeling. He told me that things were hard for him at home as he lived on his own and had no other family support due to a family split some time ago. He then went on to talk about a lot of historical abuse he had experienced which has contributed towards his depression.

My main concern was that Robert receive some psychological help for his depression. I talked to him about seeing a counsellor and reaching out to other support. Robert talked for about an hour. At the end of the conversation he said that he felt so much better for having told someone. It is going to be a long journey for Robert but one that the ‘SJC family’ and others could assist.

I gave Robert some food as he had nothing to eat at home. He initially refused saying that it was too much and that I should give it to someone who was really in need. Once I had explained to him that he was that person, Robert was extremely grateful and took the food.

As he was leaving Robert said that the staff at SJC were so helpful. He said he had a connection with them that kept him going when things were tough.

SJC wish list this week: savoury biscuits, 500ml olive oil and 500ml tomato sauce.

Steph Stephens (Community Worker)

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