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2022 – Skylight lives the ‘new normal’ in service provision

A few years ago we assumed that this 'thing' called Covid 19 would be with us for a short time and then disappear, but we have really entered a 'new normal' which is still impacted by Covid, and where many people in contact with Skylight Mental Health are vulnerable to it.

We have worked alongside our participants, government agencies, and Covid specialist service providers to find new ways to assist people and to refine the traditional services we offer to best support vulnerable people with mental health concerns. Many of these creations and adaptions will continue to be a part of Skylight's service footprint into the future.

The staff at Skylight have continually shown their creativity, commitment, and resilience and while services have changed and adapted to suit individual needs and circumstances, services have been sustained and we have continued to walk alongside participants to support them in their recovery.

But there are other ongoing and significant challenges working in the non-government sector. Funding is always tight and demands and unmet needs are always high, so our ability to adapt and shift is essential in order to provide high-quality services to the community.

And the capacity to do all of that, again and again, is demonstrated daily – and is the joy of working for Skylight Mental Health. Like all of us, sometimes I have to remind myself to stop, take a breath, look around, and appreciate where we are, and what we are achieving – and right now is one of those times.

I must thank all of the staff who work at Skylight – they display so much energy and enthusiasm, so much creativity and passion, and all alongside a dogged commitment to the values of Skylight and to the rights and needs of people with mental health concerns. It is this dynamism that makes Skylight a great service provider and a great place to lead.

Paul Creedon

CEO 

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Have your say on mental services in South Australia

At Skylight Mental Health, we started 2022 fresh and ready to action!

2021 was a year of reflection for us. We are still so very much inspired by the resilience of the human spirit and the potential in all of us to live well and are determined to support you as best as we can. However, we realise that – particularly in the past few years - times have changed. Communities have changed. People have changed.

So we have to be honest here. What we think we know about you and how you would like to work with us.. we are actually not so sure of anymore!

Skylight's mission has always been to increase opportunities to achieve good mental health, to promote acceptance of mental illness in the community, and provide quality services for people with mental illness, their families, and friends. We would like you to choose us and provide you with the best possible experience.

For us to be able to do that, we would love to understand who you really are. What is it that you are looking for in a mental health support organization such as Skylight? We'd like to bring you the opportunity to share with us what you really need and care about and help us design your future with Skylight.

We have designed a short survey that you can fill in online via this link.
You also have the opportunity to fill the survey in on paper if that's easier for you, just give us a call on (08) 8378 4100 to get the details.

We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


Click here to take the survey

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Mental Health Aware Yoga – A Compassionate and Embodied Approach to Healing

Mental Health Aware Yoga – A Compassionate and Embodied Approach to Healing

Challenges with mental health are a common experience. Research shows that nearly half of the people (45%) in Australia have experienced a diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives. (* Ref #1) This percentage doesn't include those who are feeling low, who are struggling, or who don't ask for help, so it is likely that the rate of individuals experiencing mental health challenges is considerably higher.

With yoga gaining increasing popularity in the west, significant numbers of people are coming to yoga to support their mental health. In response to the needs in the community, Skylight is now offering a Mental Health Aware Yoga program.


How does yoga help with mental health?

  • Connection with self and others
  • Self-regulation (being able to regulate our internal experience)
  • Embodiment (being present and at home in our body)
  • Mindfulness (bringing awareness to the present moment, your body, your thoughts and feelings)
  • Self-knowledge and Acceptance (getting to know and accept ourselves just as we are)
  • Self-care, Compassion and Kindness (the act of doing something for ourselves helps with mental health)
  • Exercise (moving the body)

What do you experience in a Mental Health Aware Yoga class / program?

In Kate's Mental Health Aware Yoga programs, she offers an invitation to engage within mindful movements, breathing practices and a guided relaxation that support students to move and be present in their bodies and to connect with others. Kate offers an environment that is safe and supportive for all participants where they are accepted just as they are, including those experiencing mental health challenges.
At the beginning of a class, participants will be invited to engage within a breath and body awareness visualisation, followed by an invitation to engage with safe movement and stretching for every BODY, then ending with a guided muscle tensing relaxation and gratitude practice. The practice is wrapped up with an opportunity for sharing and discussion.
You do not need any previous experience to join and the program is open to all genders and physical abilities.


Skylight offers Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and Mental Health Aware Yoga. What's the difference?

The Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TSY) offered at Skylight is an evidence-based treatment method to support people living with the effects of trauma. TSY does not incorporate silent meditation, visualization, or breathing practices, as this may sometimes feel overwhelming or dissociative to trauma survivors. The focus is on making choices about how you would like to inhabit each yoga form, to check in with how it feels, and to adjust based on what you're feeling if you so desire.

Mental Health Aware Yoga is more broadly focused on supporting people experiencing all sorts of mental health difficulties. Movement, breathing, relaxation and gratitude practices can all help alleviate symptoms and feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. Mental Health Aware Yoga will always meet an individual with acceptance and compassion. For those who have experienced trauma and would prefer classes with more variation, Mental Health Aware Yoga will also offer a therapeutic calming space for participants to feel safe.

If you would like more information about Mental Health Aware Yoga, please visit www.mentalhealthawareyoga.com.

Mental Health Aware Yoga Programs at Skylight Mental Health are facilitated by Kate, who is an experienced and qualified Yoga Teacher and has completed the Mental Health Aware Yoga training with Clinical Psychologist and Senior Yoga Teacher, Dr Lauren Tober.


Attending Mental Health Aware Yoga 

This group runs for 6 weeks on Wednesday evenings at Skylight Wayville and Friday afternoons at Skylight Parnangga

If you're interested in joining the Mental Health Aware Yoga programs and would like to experience a supportive space to connect more deeply with your body and support your mental health, feel free to contact our Customer Relations Team by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 8378 4100.


Reference #1 – Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2007). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, Australia, 2007. ABS cat. No. 4326.0. Canberra: ABS. 

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We're Opening Soon in Northern Adelaide

Skylight Mental Health has been providing community-based mental health services in Adelaide's northern suburbs for more than 20 years.

Our staff have delivered individual supports, group supports, activity services, counselling, therapeutic services and more, all of which have been delivered within the local area.

We are proud to announce that Skylight Mental Health is launching a new Northern Adelaide office to significantly extend our services and increase our connection with the people in the northern suburbs.

The new site will be up and running in 2021, offering a suite of services with a focus on NDIS participants looking for a provider who understands the unique challenges in mental health.

Our vision and our approach "See Mental Health Differently" means that we don't focus on a diagnosis or a label, but we work within a recovery-based framework, where we highlight each person's potential and goals.

Almost 80% of Skylight Mental Health's staff identify as having a direct lived experience of mental health concerns or as a carer of someone with a mental health concern and we are proud to show our commitment to a lived experience model of service.

We have started recruiting to grow our Northern team with roles, including Customer Relations Team members and Support Workers. We expect that this team will grow rapidly as we extend our commitment to the region.

We are encouraging people who want to work with a like-minded organisation to "See Your Career Differently". Perhaps it's time for a change, and maybe working for a values-based organisation like Skylight Mental Health will open new doors for you?

If you are looking for a rewarding career or looking for quality services, we look forward to meeting you soon.

Paul Creedon CEO 

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Pukatja Life

Community living is simple. I found my time in The Lands to be the most grounding time of my life; landscape absorbs worry, silence deafens the voice in your head and the sense of community is strong - you're never alone! Walking around Pukatja, people give you a friendly nod or a cheerful "Palya", and there are lots of dogs - which is awesome because who doesn't love the constant presence of papas (dogs)? Wild horses make an appearance on North side, sometimes walking down the road in search for water and food scraps, donkeys will let themselves in and wait in the kitchen for food, and cows will stand in the middle of the road staring you down- beeping doesn't scare them all!

Pitjantjatjara is one of the most beautiful languages I've heard and learning how to speak it has helped form an appreciation for grammatical, pronunciation and word definition differences. There are words for sounds, such as the sound of wind in the leaves - walpa. I have been so lucky to go on bush trips, to be shown Country and Dreaming sites, and to have watched sunsets that throw intense red, pink and purple into the sky. Watching the mountains change colour as the sun makes its journey from one mountain to the other, misty hazes after sun-down bring on an atmosphere which can only be experienced.

One of my favourite things has been making friends with Anangu, along with the strong sense of connectivity which comes from this - children waving frantically from cars or little ones running across the shop to give you a hug. These experiences fill your happy cup! After school, children migrate to the shop, stopping in at the Road House before coming into the Skylight for activities. We paint, make masks, have dance-offs, make fruit salad, play softball and create our own body products! A lot happens in the office since families come in with their tjitji (children) and iti (babies), from water play, playing bongo drums to facilitating nap time- Skylight is a well-loved part of the community.

School holiday programs run for children to come and hang out at the office- the boys enjoy break dancing and making masks before a cruise to the shop to get the ingredients for fruit salad and sandwiches. It was awesome to see all the boys wanting to be involved in cooking. Everyone had something to cut up and others enjoyed being in charge of melting the cheese on the ham sandwiches. The girls loved making pizzas and creating Christmas cards for their families, together, the children made their own gingerbread men and worked as a team to decorate their baking.

Being welcomed into community and experiencing life on The Lands has truly been a giant learning opportunity, one I am grateful for and will always carry with me. Working within a team of vibrant people I have grown professionally, found new interests and been able to explore and live with one of the oldest surviving cultures. If you get the opportunity to live within a community- DO IT!

- Lauren



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Trauma-Sensitive Yoga: Healing trauma through embodiment

As a counsellor, it is no surprise that I love words and stories. Being able to express how we feel through words can be an empowering and freeing experience. It can help us understand ourselves better, and can provide a sense of ownership over our thoughts and feelings.

However, sometimes, words are not enough.

In a threatening event, our bodies manage as best they can by activating the "survival mode". The most well-known survival modes are fight, flight, and freeze – intending to get us out of a life-threatening situation by taking down the attacker, by running away, or by being completely still.
Some traumatic experiences are "one-offs", while other trauma takes place over a longer period of time, for example in cases of childhood abuse. This is called "complex trauma". Sometimes, the nervous system of the survivor doesn't quite get the chance to recover, and the body can find itself stuck in a survival state, even when the threat is no longer present. As a result, people might experience a whole range of symptoms. They might feel their emotions like a "rollercoaster", have a dissociative sense of "not being here", or live with unexplained pain.

In addition to this, traumatic memories are often stored as sensory memories. We remember smells or colours, but might not have the ability to recall the full story.

So, what can we do when talk-therapy just doesn't cut it?

Somatic therapies aim to address the trauma that is stored in the body. In this article, I will expand on one somatic approach to trauma healing that we provide at Skylight: Trauma-Sensitive Yoga.
First things first: you do not need to be flexible. You do not need previous yoga experience. Trauma-Sensitive Yoga is available for you regardless of age, body type, physical ability, ethnicity, gender, or race.

This treatment program was developed at the Trauma Center in Massachusetts. Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY for short) is an evidence-based approach, with foundations in Trauma Theory, Attachment Theory, Neuroscience, and Hatha Yoga. It is a program specifically designed to support people living with complex trauma. Trauma-Sensitive Yoga provides an opportunity to reconnect with your body, on your own terms. The practice revolves around choice-making and noticing sensations in your body. 

For example: you can decide if you would like to lift your arms in a certain yoga form, and if so, to what extent you would like to lift them. You might bring your attention to your shoulders and notice what it feels like to lift your arms. Based on what you're noticing, you might decide to adjust the way you are lifting your arms. The TCTSY facilitator verbally guides you through different yoga forms during the session and practices the forms with you. The emphasis is not on "doing it right", so the facilitator does not give you verbal or physical adjustments. This allows you to focus on how you would like to inhabit each yoga shape. 

The next 6-week Trauma-Sensitive Yoga program at Skylight starts on Monday 31st August. 

If you think you'd like to give it a try, feel free to get in touch with our customer relations team to sign up. The facilitator (me) will give you a call to have a brief chat first, which will also provide you with a chance to ask any questions you might have.

Looking forward to connecting with you – with and without words

Merel
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A Note From Skylight CEO - Paul Creedon

Earlier today I received a call from Mrs Lan Le, the wife of SA's Governor Hieu Van Le, who phoned to express her thanks to Skylight Mental Health for its ongoing work to support people living with a mental illness, particularly during the current COVID19 pandemic.


Mrs Le, before her retirement, was a social worker in mental health and she recounted to me several referrals she had made to Skylight and the great outcomes for those people which had always given her a positive view of Skylight and its services.

She congratulated us on our ability to continue providing services and also for creating and building new services and opportunities. She specifically highlighted the Skylight videos that had been created and posted online as evidence of our value and resilience in this difficult time.

We spoke at some length acknowledging that the quality of an organisation like Skylight is demonstrated daily by the actions of its staff and their interactions with participants, and she asked me to pass on her thanks to all of the staff at Skylight for our ongoing work and commitment to people with a mental illness.


I, and the Board, have no difficulty in seconding this and also thanking all of the staff for their commitment, flexibility and creativity.


Paul Creedon
CEO


Click here to view a message from His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia: 
COVID-19: A MESSAGE FROM THE GOVERNOR TO THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA

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Together - National Reconciliation Week

The title of my piece is 'Together', this means walking, talking and doing together for a bright hopeful future. Since childhood I have heard of stories from the indigenous communities' and they say that the earth is their mother and they are the custodians of her. 

I wanted to show that I feel the same way.

Together we can walk the path of colours in our beautiful land, from the amazing colours in the sky, flora, land and the beautiful turquoise colour of our seas and ocean. Cherishing the native species of plant life that is left as 90% of the Noarlunga area has been wiped out. The diversity of our country from the scrublands and forests to our magnificent red river gums not to mention our incredible wildlife that is so unique.

There is nowhere in the world like this land.

The two hands coming together are indigenous and non-indigenous peoples both with knowledge and a readiness to work together in projects and group discussions to care for and protect everyone and everything that is this land. Under the night sky, the southern cross is of great significance, when it is low in the sky it indicates that the emu is sitting on his eggs, eggs are is a symbol of new life, fertility and hope it is also a time for foraging. The emu and kangaroo are on the coat of arms and can only move in a forward direction, my hope and dreams are for all of us to move forward together.

Artwork and words by Toni Dallow, 2020
  1305 Hits
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5 Cooke Terrace
Wayville SA 5034
Phone: (08) 8378 4100
ABN: 85 595 741 081

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