Thanks for taking our Skylight Survey

Thanks for taking our Skylight Survey
We are ready to action your responses

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 realised that – particularly in the past few years - times have changed. Communities have changed. People have changed.

So we had to be honest here. What we thought we knew about you and how you liked to work with us may have changed!

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 had to understand who you really are. What is it that you were looking for in a mental health support organization such as Skylight? So we brought you the opportunity to share with us what you really need and care about to help us design your future with Skylight. You did this! Thank you for answering our survey.

Now we have the information. We have been able to identify great opportunities to help create better experiences for everyone that uses our services. We would like to thank everyone that took the time to give us their feedback. We are now planning a number of new actions that will be implemented across Skylight to improve your experience even more.

  216 Hits

Murraylands & Limestone Coast Forums

Murraylands & Limestone Coast Forums

Best practice in developing service design and improving quality of services of any kind is to speak with the user of the service. A close second is to speak with those providing the service.

Over the past two weeks, we have met with participants, support workers and the broader teams in the Limestone Coast and Murraylands to ask about their experiences with Skylight services across Country Wellness Connections, Community Connections and the NDIS.

These valuable discussions have drawn on the Living Experience of the people most connected with our services and their aspirations for the future.

The information shared will inform our focus on continuous improvement and increasing the quality and accessibility of our services to regional communities.

These forums will be a regular feature going forward and ensure our services are underpinned by lived experience and focused on those we walk beside in recovery.

Click here to find out more about Community Connections

Click here to find out more about Country Wellness Connections

Philip Chabrel
Team Leader

  1187 Hits

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

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


  1090 Hits

Have your say on mental services in South Australia

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

  1118 Hits

Online Art Therapy

Online Art Therapy

Can't make to face to face groups? Why not try out online Art Therapy via zoom in the comfort of your own space, on your own terms.

Art therapy is a wonderful opportunity to connect to the creativity within and explore your sense of self in a group therapeutic setting run by accredited art therapists. It promotes a chance to open up your feelings in an inclusive and non-judgemental environment whilst being in the comfort of your own space.

You do not need to be good at art to participate as it is all about the process rather than product.

Each week, we gather online as a group, check in with one another and do a fun creative art activity around various themes of mental health. Participants have the freedom to pick and choose how they will approach this. We focus on engaging with the present moment and cultivating a deeper sense of self awareness and play.

Use whatever supplies you have on hand or ask the facilitators for more direction on materials for a challenge!

A lovely way to connect with like-minded individuals who come from all walks of life with valuable experiences to share. A great resource for those who might struggle with travel time, live in remote areas, have chronic illnesses that requires more flexibility or just lead busy lives and want to schedule in some self-care that is accessible.

To find out more about our Online Art Therapy, give us a call on (08) 8378 4100.

- Written by Nora

  1278 Hits

Art Therapy: Photography Activities

Art Therapy: Photography Activities

This month, Skylight Mental Health Art Therapist, Nora, shares some photography activities to invite curiosity and inspire a new way of looking at the world around you. If you enjoy photography and would like to take part in a photography competition for Mental Health Month 2021, have a look at outfromthemist.com - entries close on 24th September 2021. Skylight Mental Health may be able to offer a discount on entry fees, call 8378 4100 for more information.

If you're interested in Art Therapy (group or individual sessions available), you're welcome to contact our Customer Relations Team on 8378 4100.

Macro Magic

For a moment, spend some time noticing your surroundings and stop when you spot a scene or object that catches your eye. With your camera or your phone camera, play with the zoom function to focus in. With a curious mind, explore your new perspective. Are there any new details that now stand out? Is there anything that you didn't notice before?

You could also pull the zoom function out or move back further from the scene/object. Can you see the bigger picture?

Photo credit: Aaron Burden @aaronburden


Tap into some sensory fun through touch and photography!

Take notice of your surroundings. Are there any textures present that evoke inner feelings? It could be something soft and cuddly like a scarf that might make you feel calm and centred or chalk that is sandy and gritty in nature. Use your camera to document this sensory experience.

What did you notice?

Photo credit: Matthew Henry @matthewhenry


"There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" – Leonard Cohen

Take a moment to explore the contrast of the light and dark in your personal world. Observe how they interact with each other. Photograph a perspective that resonates most with you. Explore further if you can play within the shadows or illuminate areas of darkness?

Be creative with this theme and we'd love to see your interpretation

Photo credit: Klara Kulikova @kkalerry

  1617 Hits

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

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. 

  1840 Hits

Act It Out! - New Therapeutic Drama Group at Skylight Mental Health

Act It Out! - New Therapeutic Drama Group at Skylight Mental Health

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." 
- George Bernard Shaw.

What was your favourite game as a child?

Children naturally play – both individually and in groups. Group activities that are fun and playful, and where we connect with peers, are important for our mental health and wellbeing.

Act it Out! – Skylight's Therapeutic Drama Group provides a light-hearted, supported connection with others. Aside from a sense of fun, the program also allows space and opportunity for participants to explore some aspects of their own stories.

Expressive therapies such as drama have many benefits for mental health. They provide an opportunity to explore our sense of self and often help us bring areas of concern into focus. We can also discover strengths that we didn't know we had! Expressive therapies are a wonderful tool as they allow us a way to do this important work without necessarily having to talk, disclose very personal information or even think too much about things, as our focus is on doing!

Act it Out takes participants through a series of drama games, leading to a sense of play, excitement, instinctive response and creativity. Seeking to foster a strong sense of group cohesion, we will be stimulating ideas for inspiring stories to reflect on and respond to.

This group runs in a 6-week block, starting July 8th 2021, every Thursday from 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM at Fullarton Park Community Centre.

If this group interests you, feel free to contact our Customer Relations Team on 8378 4100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

  1744 Hits

Everyday Wellbeing

Everyday Wellbeing

"I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it"
- Maya Angelou

How often have you found yourself thinking: 'This is too hard…' 'If only this or that would happen…' 'Why can't they see it my way…' 'Why do these things keep happening to me…' etc.?

Here's the thing. Life is constantly throwing us curve balls. Some are wonderful and enriching, others are challenging and daunting. Adversity in life is inevitable. Every day we are faced with problems, both big and small. Every day we have to make decisions, some as seemingly simple as what to have for breakfast, and some as difficult as dealing with our own challenging thoughts and emotions. One thing is for certain, we have very little control over which curve ball comes our way on any given day, but we do have control over how we respond to it.

We always have choices in the face of adversity. One option is to deny that our difficult thoughts and feelings exist and try really hard not to think about them. (Now, if I told you not to think about pink elephants sprinkling love heart confetti as they fly past your window, what will you think about?)

No one likes to have difficult thoughts and feelings and we tend to go to great lengths to avoid them. We can do whatever it takes to cope with them. We can drink too much, eat too much, sleep too much, avoid people and places… We can do so many things to avoid our pain. We often prefer not to think too much about our choice of coping mechanisms or their long term consequences - all we want is immediate comfort and respite no matter what!

The alternative is this: we could accept that although thoughts and feelings can be difficult and uncomfortable, they are all part of the human experience. And although we'd all love to have a magic wand to wave away all discomfort and unhappiness, that's an unrealistic wish. Instead, we can strive to live our lives to their full potential and learn to grow and thrive through the good and bad.

So, how do we do that?

Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third wave Cognitive Behavioural Therapy approach. It emphasizes that we don't have to wait for all the stars to align and all our worries and concerns to disappear before we can start to live our best lives.
By identifying our values, that is, what is most important to us and what we stand for in life, and by using these values as a guide to our behaviour, we can face difficult situations with resilience and strength. We can learn to be present in the moment and appreciate all that life has to offer.

In our Everyday Wellbeing Group, we work on the skills and tools to help us identify and live by our values. We also focus on our existing strengths, abilities and knowledge to help us navigate our way through life.

The next 6 week Everyday Wellbeing Program at Skylight starts on Tuesday, May 3rd. If you are interested in participating or would like to know more, please call our Customer Relations Team.

This article was written by Joumana, who runs the Everyday Wellbeing group at Skylight and also provides individual counselling. Learn more about Joumana by reading her bio. 

  2024 Hits

We're Opening Soon in Northern Adelaide

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 

  2438 Hits

6 signs you've found the perfect NDIS Support Coordinator

6 signs you've found the perfect NDIS Support Coordinator

Here's a quick list of qualities to look for in a Support Coordinator.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides greater choice and control for people who require disability support than ever before. However, it can be difficult to know where to start when you receive your first NDIS plan and the process of connecting with suitable providers can be confusing.

If your plan includes support coordination, the person you choose to provide this service will play a significant role in how well your supports meet your needs.

To help you on your way we have compiled a list of qualities that we think makes a great Support Coordinator.

1. Helps you help yourself

Getting the most out of your plan involves you being in the driver's seat and making the important decisions, so what you want is someone who can really help you understand your plan from day dot and prepare you to manage your own plan going into the future. You'll know it. If you feel empowered by the information given and supported to take control of your NDIS journey – you're with the right Support Coordinator.

2. Understands you

Someone who takes the time and effort to understand what a meaningful life looks like for you, where you've been, and where you want to go is ideal. Remember, this is your plan for reaching your goals. Sometimes you won't be able to get everything you want, but you'll know if you have someone who has taken the time to listen.

3. Understands the NDIS

The NDIS can seem daunting and complex if you are still learning how it works. Someone who understands it inside and out will make it easy. The NDIS is always on the move. Someone who is up to date is worth their weight in gold.

4. Flexible and creative

A coordinator who will match their working style to your needs and preferences and will utilise mainstream and community supports is what you deserve. They will work creatively to get the most from your plan by thinking outside box. There's likely to be a few 'no's' along your NDIS journey, a great Support Coordinator will do their absolute best to turn the 'no' into 'yes' with a bit of creativity.

5. Fair and independent

Biased coordinators can't reliably provide you with the best service. Before committing, it's worth asking just what's in place to always act in your best interests to prevent them from simply going through the motions. Don't be fooled by perceived independence either. They don't need to operate from home with an ABN. The good ones could easily work for a large national organisation. A broad network, familiarity with services across the sector, and coordination that covers a range of solutions from multiple providers are all evidence of a fair and independent Support Coordinator.

6. Capable

You deserve someone who provides you with a well-informed choice of services and has a strong track record of person-centred coordination. It helps to use a local coordinator with experience in your area of disability so they are familiar with the services convenient to you. Disability is a huge sector covering a range of diagnoses and supports. Consider if you are after a generalist or a specialist. Chances are your unique situation would benefit from a Support Coordinator who's an expert in your particular area of disability.

  1580 Hits

Carers SA Carer Community Achievement Awards

Carers SA Carer Community Achievement Awards

Congratulations to Skylight Mental Health Life Member Rhonda Samuel who won the Carers SA Carer Community Achievement Award on Friday 11th December.

The Carer Achievement Award recognises a South Australian family carer who has not only provided substantial long term care but who has also worked to improve the recognition, services and supports for other carers. Carers SA presents this award to celebrate this individual achievement in championing the carer cause to improve the lives of family carers in South Australia.

Rhonda is part of the Mood Disorders Carers Support Group and now the 4th person from this Skylight group to receive this award. Rhonda has served on numerous sub-committees including the Mood Disorders Support Group Working Party; whose set of carer recommendations became an essential part of the Mental Health Reform initiatives involving the carer's voice in the Mental Health System.

For over twenty years, Rhonda and her husband Barry have worked tirelessly for carer advocacy, dedicating many hours to speaking out and raising awareness of the important role a carer plays in supporting a person with mental illness as they move through their recovery journey.

Previous winners from the Mood Disorders Carers Support Group include – Barry Samuel, Dr Sharon Lawn, Marcia Johnson Timm and the late Bob Burke.

  2838 Hits

Writing: As a Healing Tool

Writing: As a Healing Tool

Have you ever noticed how different your thoughts look when written down in front of you? Sometimes, our thoughts can feel like sand slipping through our hands – hard to catch and grasp. When we write our thoughts down and the words appear in front of us, we can gain insight into what we are thinking and even what we are feeling. This clarity allows us to explore our inner world and 'connect the dots' between our thoughts and feelings—a practice behind many therapeutic approaches. Expressing ourselves creatively—through words—can assist with processing our experiences and feelings and can have a significant healing effect.

There are four main styles of writing: narrative, expository, descriptive and persuasive writing. Creative writing can cross over throughout any of these styles, using words for movement, exploration and expression. Creative writing provides an opportunity for the writer to build their unique voice and safely explore their ideas and values throughout the process. Creatively practising assertion is useful for people who struggle with establishing boundaries or who have a history of trauma and abuse. Writing out our feelings can help us use the two hemispheres of the brain (left and right) to engage our emotional and cognitive sides, allowing us to process information and experiences helpfully and organically. As a practice, writing encourages mindfulness and reflection, which can be soothing for our nervous system, giving our bodies a chance to relax and unwind. Writing can give us the space and time to allow our thoughts to just be and settle where they are. This reminds us that we have control over what we are thinking and that we may choose to practice different perspectives after noticing our thoughts. Once we understand our feelings, we can practice the skill of 'self-regulation,' supporting ourselves during times of emotional distress.

Writing can also help improve our memory and make us feel less 'full' or overwhelmed by writing down what is on our mind or making a list of things to do. Writing can provide us with new insights and perspectives and can help us reflect and make meaning of our thoughts, feelings and experiences. It can also lead to a deeper connection with oneself and therefore aid on the journey to self-acceptance and understanding. When you are wielding the pen (or the keyboard!), you are reminded that you are the writer of your own unique story and you can make choices as to where the story goes.

The Therapeutic Writing Group at Skylight offers participants the ability to explore their thoughts and feelings creatively, in a safe, supportive and fun environment led by a qualified Counsellor and Writer. Creative expression has many therapeutic benefits and is a tool to assist with self-regulation, mindfulness practice and exploration of the self. Writing can also help with the processing of experiences and feelings and can have a significant healing effect. You do not need to be a prolific writer to join the group – it is all about the experience.

Come along and express yourself. I hope to see you there.


  3119 Hits

COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Updates

Due to eased restrictions, Skylight Mental Health is back up and running with normal services in place. We will continue monitoring SA Govt. COVID rules and keep you updated if anything changes.

It is still important that you do not attend Skylight if you feel unwell, have flu-like symptoms, or visited any locations identified by SA Health. Instead, stay home and follow the SA Health guidelines. If you have any questions, please contact our friendly Customer Relations Team on 8378 4100. 

  987 Hits

Always Was. Always Will Be. NAIDOC Week 2020

Always Was. Always Will Be. NAIDOC Week 2020

Last Monday morning, the 9th of November 2020, the Skylight Walking Group in the Murraylands joined the annual Bridge Walk. The Bridge Walk is held to celebrate NAIDOC Week, which aims to increase community awareness of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The theme for this years NAIDOC Week is "Always Was. Always Will Be." Skylight Murraylands Walking Group joined local First Nations people, as well as other community representatives from across the region for this event.

The Skylight Walking Group met at the rotunda near the local RSL club, and the local police closed the bridge to traffic to allow approximately 150 people to walk together across the mighty Murray River - known as "Millewa" by aboriginal people - acknowledging that First Nations people occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years and that they are spiritually and culturally connected to this country. The Bridge Walk was followed by an awards ceremony held at the local council office.

This event registered COVIDSafe Plans and met COVIDSafe requirements.

  1260 Hits

Self-acceptance & Self-care

Self-acceptance & Self-care

Self-care is a concept most of us have heard of – think: bath bombs, walks on the beach, dessert and days off. We know what self-care is, but for many of us, it can feel like an unrealistic or unattainable goal. Who has money for regular bath bombs and dessert – especially if they are taking days off!? However, self-care is about a lot more than experiences of luxury or material items.

For me, self-care is about the experience of connecting with yourself and prioritizing yourself. Therefore, this means that self-care looks different for everyone. The reason why self-care is so important, and why we encourage it as a tool for keeping well, is because it is an opportunity for you to let yourself know that you are important and worthy of care and respect. For some people, this means relaxing in the bath or walking on the beach. For other people, this might look like saying 'no' to working more or making plans with a friend. However it may look for you, self-care is a tool that allows us to take a little break, so we can 'fill our cup' and keep on pouring.

So what is the difference between self-care and self-acceptance? Self-acceptance is an idea rather than an act. It is about observing and understanding ourselves, rather than judging. Our perception of our self and our level of self-acceptance forms in many ways, through unique experiences and challenges. Our self-acceptance journey begins in childhood, where we mimic our environments, learning certain behaviours and ways of being. These experiences can internalize and come with us into adulthood. Sometimes, we have to re-condition ourselves and learn new ways to interact with our mind and body to create a healthier and more beneficial life for ourselves. Lucky for us, our brains have an amazing capacity for neuroplasticity – this means they can change and rewire through new information and (positive) experiences! No matter when or where you may be starting from, there is endless potential and hope for you to create a relationship with yourself that can be meaningful and loving.

Self- care can help improve our capacity to observe and understand ourselves, therefore aiding the journey to self-acceptance. But this is not a journey that you have to go alone! If you feel that you may benefit from speaking with someone about how you are feeling and ways to work on your mental health, please reach out to Skylight to see how we can help.

Take care of yourself.

  1712 Hits

Making Changes in Your Relationship with Alcohol

Making Changes in Your Relationship with Alcohol

Have you noticed how much alcohol is on television? Not just the ads but in the actual shows. From the alcohol fuels brawls of dating and cooking shows to the perfectly placed beers on the sports-related shows and don't get me started on the shows of watching people watch other shows. And that's just in the safety of your own home. Step out of your home and there are bottles shops at most hotels and shopping centres and that nice little discount coupon you get at the bottom of some of your shopping dockets. For someone who is considering changing their relationship toward alcohol, these can be very triggering experiences. And in the current climate, a lot of people are experiencing iso-drinking which is consuming more alcohol than they would normally due to the effects of isolation.

Let's talk facts now. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) say that 'an Australian standard drink contains 10g of alcohol (12.5ml of pure alcohol). You can count the number of standard drinks you are consuming to keep track of how much you are drinking'. Different sources also advise limits like 1-2 standard drinks per day with no more than 4 per day and no more than 10 per week with 1-2 alcohol-free days in the mix. However to count these standard drinks you need to know the percentage of alcohol overall in the liquid you are consuming and the millilitres that have been poured into the glass. This can be hard even if you are just having a drink at home. This is where speaking to someone who can help you identify the variables to understand a standard drink can be useful. I'd also like to point out here that if a person is alcohol dependent or has been drinking large quantities of alcohol for an extended period, it is important to seek medical advice before making any changes, as sudden cessation of alcohol can lead to serious health conditions or death.

Stages of change - Before setting any goals for change or signing up for a dry week to month it can be useful to assess where you are in your change journey first. As an alcohol and drug counsellor, I have used the stages of change model to help people really work out their level of understanding regarding where they are at and to also help them get back on the horse when they fall off which, surprise, can happen so it is important to be ready for it. So let's have a look at these stages

Pre-contemplation is where the problem behaviour is not seen as a problem. This may be because the person is in denial, they don't see the costs outweighing the benefits, they just feel like they are being nagged or they have made a previous unsuccessful attempt and have decided to give up on the change. This is still a workable space and sometimes requires some extra information, education, costs versus benefits analysis and most importantly awareness of the issue. It's also important to remember that it doesn't have to always be all or nothing and like any relationship, negotiations can be made.

Contemplation - "I could make the change and if I did it could look like this….but I'm still hesitant to make it because of….". How often do we say this to ourselves? Sometimes we don't even know the reasons why but they are often based around fear, ambivalence, or just put it in the too-hard basket. This is where speaking with someone can help to nut out what it is that's stopping you and what resources and knowledge you need to make the change. Also identifying the barriers to change so you can name what is preventing you from taking the next step. And finally, the likelihood of relapse because, as mentioned above, triggers are all around us so it's important to make some plans to prevent and/or manage lapses and relapses.

Preparation - You did it, you decided to make the change…..now what? This is where goal setting, refusal techniques and coping strategies can be explored. Remember, you can't build a house without a strong foundation (and non-flammable cladding). Sometimes planning can include minor adjustments to your current behaviour and sometimes it can mean a lifestyle change but no matter how big or small the change, you need a strong and clear change plan. Don't only think about the change you want to make but also the reason you want to make it as the reason can be that tipping factor as to whether change happens or not. Also, plan out the steps to making this change and make them SMART; meaning specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Remember you can't become a marathon runner overnight. You don't have to do this alone either so include people and resources such as support groups, counsellors or family and friends in your plan that you can call upon to help you achieve your goal. Once you have set your goals and made them strong it's also important to think about when things go wrong and how you will manage those times. The more tools you have in your tool belt, the better equipped you will be to manage the change and all the obstacles you will encounter.

Action- Lights, camera, action, this is where the magic happens in the movies but it's not always magical in real life. It's important to remember your goals, your steps, your support network and all the other measure you put in place in this stage. You may find yourself avoiding triggers, reaching out for help, taking steps to avoid temptation and working through cravings. Yes, cravings. This is where the 4 Ds can help with managing cravings. The 4 Ds are delay, distract, de-stress and de-catastrophize. Cravings will come in a wave so often by delaying for around 20 minutes, the craving will subside on its own. And don't forget to also drink water and keep up your fluids as this will help you feel full and your body will be more comfortable. Herbal tea can also be good but just be mindful of soft drinks and caffeine as they may be a trigger.

Maintenance- While cars need regular services, your change plan may also need some tune-ups as you continue to face challenges. Even people in a maintenance stage of change may need to seek support to help fine-tune their plan to continue success. It's also important to keep plans in the back of your mind to manage lapse and relapse as these can still happen. While you know you can make the change you don't want to end up starting again from page one or giving up entirely. You got this!

Lapse and relapse - I like to use both words lapse and relapse as there is a difference between the two. A lapse is more of that 'whoops' moment where you have a slip-up but you return to your changed behaviour and make some adjustments to your plan to prevent a recurrence. A relapse is returning to step one, whatever that was for you, and having to start again rather than pick up where you left off. Both of them are spaces for learning and growth. Just like a child that gets its finger caught in a kitchen draw, while it may do it once and learn from that experience and never do it again, it may also do it several times not understanding why it keeps happening, until the lightbulb moment where it learns how to hold the handle so its fingers don't get in the way. We need to remember we are humans and we learn from experience. Just remember to be kind and honest with yourself and the people supporting you.

Don't forget to ask for help if and when you need it. Skylight can offer counselling services to those who are wanting to make changes in their life who can be at any stage of change. It doesn't have to be related to alcohol either so if you need someone to walk alongside you for a part of your journey, contact Skylight and see how we can help.

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Trauma-Sensitive Yoga: Healing trauma through embodiment

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

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Pukatja Life

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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A Note From Skylight CEO - Paul Creedon

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

Click here to view a message from His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia: 

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