Karen’s path with Momentum Collective started in 2019 at the Connections Centre, marking a significant shift from her role as a stay-at-home mother. With courage, Karen accepted a job placement at the centre, leading to her Certificate III in Community Services enrolment.
During her placement, Karen keenly studied how to support clients living with mental health conditions and how to engage effectively with them. Her commitment was evident as she diligently documented her key takeaways and formed connections with her clients.
Karen’s current role involves working closely with three dedicated clients, one of whom she has been supporting since her first shift at Momentum. Among these clients is Lisa a 55-year-old woman living with Schizophrenia. Karen’s support and non-judgmental approach over the past couple of years has assisted Lisa in overcoming her social anxiety, allowing her to venture outside.
“Lisa was timid and struggled with social anxiety when I first met her. She didn’t like to step outside. The first step was to build trust with her and always be there when I said I would be. Lisa couldn’t go to the shopping centre without feeling overwhelmed and anxious, and now, three years later, she ‘shops till she drops’, and I can’t get her to leave the shopping centre!” smiles Karen.
Another significant aspect of Lisa’s life involves her weekly horse therapy sessions at Winchester Farm. Karen accompanies her, witnessing the profound bond between Lisa and a gentle horse. The therapeutic interaction provides calm and comfort to Lisa as she tends to the horse by brushing and feeding her carrots. Karen finds immense joy in assisting Lisa to attend these therapy sessions and witnessing her newfound calm and contentment.
Lisa’s primary caregiver and long-time friend, Jason, recently expressed deep gratitude for Karen’s dedication and compassionate heart.
“After the first few sessions Karen had with Lisa, I was very impressed by the total gentle encouraging approach Karen took with Lisa and her in depth awareness of encouraging a shy socially isolated person to respond, be slowly and positively encouraged and to join in social activities while being so aware and instantly responding to any concerns or triggers Lisa experienced” says Jason.
“As the years have gone on, Karen’s attitude and support with Lisa has stayed consistent it amazes me watching how much Lisa’s self-confidence and awareness has grown when tackling daily and weekly tasks, while gently socially interacting with others. People still can’t believe the difference Lisa has shown, all thanks to Karen.”
Reflecting on her journey, Karen shares, “I feel the work that Momentum does aligns with my values, and from experiencing my struggles with mental health and some other personal issues, that led me down the path of becoming a Mental Health Support Worker. I want people to know you are heard and will be okay.”