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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sarah Moore

Weaving connection into community

Photo by Mohan Moolepetlu on Unsplash

After watching David Brook’s TED talk recently, I have been reflecting on “the Weavers” in my home town and the impact they are having on the social fabric of our community.

Radiance Network South West is an example of an organisation that is doing amazing work supporting mothers and families during the perinatal period. Radiance was established in 2017 after a local woman, CJ Heins, raised $15 000 from a clothes swap event to increase awareness and support for other mothers who may be at risk of experiencing postpartum anxiety, depression and psychosis. CJ herself developed postpartum psychosis after the birth of her first child and, knowing little about this condition, initially struggled to access the resources and treatment that she needed. CJ is an inspirational “Weaver” whose passion and efforts have led to the formation of Radiance Network South West. Radiance has been running regular Mother Baby Nurture programs each school term for the past 2 years, supporting new mums to form healthy attachment with their infants and create connections that will set the foundation for a resilient life-long relationship between mother and child. Radiance also facilitates weekly support groups in Busselton and Bunbury to provide ongoing opportunities for mothers to connect and encourage one another on their journey through motherhood. I have witnessed first-hand the positive, even life-saving, impact that Radiance is having in our community. I feel incredibly grateful for CJs courage and determination, taking the first step to make change and fulfil a need for families in the South West. I am also grateful to the team of health professionals who make up the Radiance committee and continue to work hard to serve mothers who require this support during the perinatal period. If you would like to learn more about this incredible network, please visit their website and follow Radiance on Facebook.

The Paperbark Wellness Project is another inspiring endeavour that began as a vision and is now manifesting as a reality. Genevieve Morrissey is a local counsellor who provides heart-centred care to her clients and is a member of the Holistic Health Practitioner Network. Genevieve has a lived experience of anxiety and has also witnessed members of her family and her clients endure isolation, depression and addiction. Genevieve knows the power of social connection to prevent and treat mental health conditions, and this was confirmed after reading a powerful book “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari. Genevieve’s passion for sharing this knowledge and creating different pathways for people with mental health issues to access support led her to host a movie fundraiser “Suicide: The Ripple Effect”. The aim of this movie screening was to raise awareness of the impact that suicide has on the entire community and what can be done to prevent this detrimental problem. After a successful panel discussion following the movie, Genevieve went on to establish The Paperbark Wellness Project, with help from other local health practitioners and supportive community members. So far, the Project has involved two public events. Firstly, the screening of the film “Backtrack Boys”, raising awareness about the issues facing disadvantaged youth and bringing together members of the community with a common desire to work together and build support networks for young people in need. Secondly, hosting “Paperbark Conversations – Anxiety” – a public discussion led by five holistic health practitioners who approach the management of anxiety a bit differently to the mainstream to inform community members of the options available to those who are suffering with this common condition. Genevieve is also in the process of establishing a third activity involving the restoration of a boat. Local people who are suffering from depression and isolation will be invited to assist a local boat owner restore his boat. Through the restoration process, it is hoped that these people will build trusting relationships and learn new life skills, which in turn will improve their mental health. Genevieve is indeed weaving connection and compassionate care into our community and it has been my absolute honour to accompany her on this journey. To learn more about the Paperbark Wellness Project and get involved, please visit the website and follow PWP on Facebook .

The Quill Collective is yet another exciting enterprise that has recently been established in Busselton with the intention of deepening community connection. Jo and Tas are a dynamic couple with two young sons whose vision to create a café with difference has now manifested in the most glorious way. The Quill Collective is located on 40 acres in Vasse and includes a café, a gift shop, a library, multiple gardens, craft rooms and play areas for children. Their mission is to provide a space for local community members to sit quietly, create, read, garden, appreciate the creative works of local artisans, connect with old friends or meet new ones. Further, they offer their space for small workshops, meetings and other gatherings, such as Paperbark Conversations. Jo and Tas are actively and lovingly weaving creativity and connection into our community and I am so excited to see how this venture grows and evolves in the coming years. To learn more about The Quill Collective, visit their website and follow TQC on Facebook.

So what does it take to become a Weaver? Through observing the work of these inspirational humans, I have identified three simple steps:

1. Find your “why”. Each of these individuals have a powerful calling to make a difference in the world.
2. Visualise the change you want to be in the world. Each of these individuals have a clear understanding of what they want to create and achieve.
3. Take action. Each of these individuals have shown courage and put themselves out in the world, leading the charge and asking others to follow.

Do you feel compelled to become a Weaver? Please share your ideas. Develop your vision. Take the first step. Anything is possible.

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