Berry Street’s Y-Change initiative is a social and systemic change platform for young people with lived experiences of socioeconomic disadvantage. As Lived Experience Consultants, they challenge the thinking and practices of wider social systems through advocacy and leadership.
For Berry Street’s 2019-20 Annual Report, the team contributed the piece below that explores what change means to them, and what needs to urgently change across the sector to help create a better future for children and young people.
Continue reading “A Berry Street team at the forefront of change”
It’s been a year like never before. One that has —in so many complex ways —demonstrated the constancy of change, as well as how rapid change can so brightly shine a light on existing inequality. A time when we’re confronted to see the reality of what lies before us and work through some of the most challenging times in our lives.
At the same time — amongst the very real upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects it will continue to have on children, young people, families, and societies the world over — there are glimmers of hope. We’ve been presented with a time potentially like never before, when all is laid bare, to challenge ourselves and reimagine how we can work together to courageously change lives and shape a new future. This includes a future where — as we believe at Berry Street — children, young people and families are safe, thriving and hopeful.
Continue reading “A year of two halves – Y-Change in conversation with our President and CEO”
Part 3 of our series ‘Mental illness relapse and recovery during a global pandemic: lived wisdom from young people’s perspectives’
“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. […] We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” – Sonya Renee Taylor
As a collective, we’ve found that the advice from many think pieces during this time has been removed from lots of people’s actual lived experiences. Right now, we’re in an absolute unknown. Things are going to be and feel different, strange and exhausting as we adjust to completely new versions of “normal”. For some of us, no amount of meditation and mindfulness helps in general, let alone during a pandemic, especially if our basic needs aren’t being met.
This is the final part in our series, ‘Mental illness relapse and recovery during a global pandemic’. For those of us who are working hard on our recovery journey, where can we seek specific support during this time? What are some useful tips, tricks and tools from peers in this space with relevant lived experience?
Continue reading “Tips, tricks and resources: What’s been helping during COVID-19 and as we transition into our new “normals” | Part 3”
Part 2 of our series ‘Mental illness relapse and recovery during a global pandemic: lived wisdom from young people’s perspectives‘
“Shouting self-care at people who actually need community care is how we fail them.” – Nikita Valerio
For young people experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, experiencing isolation and lockdown brings up a whole lot of stuff around coping mechanisms.
In part 2 of our series, we look at some changes in our own behaviour that we’ve observed and some common symptoms for those of us already managing mental illness.
Continue reading “How COVID-19 intensifies symptoms of mental illness | Part 2”
Part 1 of our series ‘Mental illness relapse and recovery during a global pandemic: lived wisdom from young people’s perspectives‘
“We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.” – Damian Barr
Amid all the noise of think pieces about self-care and the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), we’re not seeing much that focuses on what happens for young people who are in recovery with mental ill-health; in particular, for young people experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, isolation and lockdown can have wide-ranging impacts.
In this three part series, we will explore what’s happening and what’s helping during this global pandemic from the perspective of young people with a lived experience of surviving tough times. We will also share some resources and tips we have discovered along the way and are finding useful.
Continue reading “Each person’s experience of COVID-19 is unique | Part 1”
How many babies who experience serious hardships in their first year of life have delayed communication skills?
The Berry Street Take Two team based in Bendigo in the Loddon region of Victoria were worried about this. They welcomed a speech pathologist to work with them for more than a year, as part of Take Two’s Communication Project to help understand the scale of the problem.
Continue reading “Childhood communications delays – a pilot project”
In these uncertain times, it’s understandable that carers may be feeling elevated concerns about how to manage the changing expectations of contact with family members. As a therapeutic service, Take Two offers this guidance in managing the heightened emotions and thoughts of children in the out-of-home care (OOHC) system in these times. We also provide a list of some free video calling apps and programs that might be suitable to use.
Continue reading “Considerations for supporting children, carers & families during remote contact visits”
This an unpredictable and uncertain time for everyone. With schools closing many parents and carers are wondering how they are going to cope for long periods at home with the children and young people in their care.
It’s the same as what they tell you on planes. You need to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help others. It’s a huge struggle to care for children if we neglect to look after ourselves. While you may think: ‘easier said than done’ – it really does make a difference.
Here are 4 steps you can follow to help you be kind to yourself.
Continue reading “Parents and carers: be kind to yourself”
Predictable activities, rhythms and routines make children and young people feel more secure, safer and cared for. With a little bit of planned structure, children are less likely to feel caught unawares. They will know what to expect.
This is especially important for children in out-of-home care who may be more likely to feel that the world is an unsafe place.
In the current COVID-19 situation with no school and big changes to their daily lives, many children, carers and families are struggling to find a new and reassuring rhythm to their days.
Continue reading “Creating a soothing new household rhythm in uncertain times”
Communities around the world are feeling the impacts of COVID-19. And for anyone who has suffered trauma or lives with anxiety normally, it’s an even more difficult time.
For families with children – especially children who are in out-of-home care – spending weeks at home without any school or other group activities will likely be pretty tough at times.
Over the coming weeks, Berry Street’s Take Two service will be providing resources to help families with children who have experienced developmental trauma to support and manage their wellbeing.
Continue reading “Caring for children in out-of-home care during the COVID-19 outbreak”
By Allison Cox, Director, Berry Street – Take Two
A group of our international colleagues recently came from Norway to spend time with Berry Street’s Take Two service.
The RVTS Sør (South) service is a Norwegian government-funded domestic violence, sexual abuse, traumatic stress, migrant/refugee health and suicide prevention resource centre and training service. They have a special focus on working with children and families.
Continue reading “International delegation visits Take Two”
Not much is known about Elle’s* first year. Her Mum has severe mental health problems and has lots of problems with drugs and drinking.
Elle was removed by Child Protection services from her mother around the time she turned one.
Her father immigrated from Asia. Growing up we suspect he experienced significant trauma during the long civil war in his country. Elle’s father didn’t know about Elle until after she was removed and placed into foster care. When he found out, she went to live with him together with his new partner Trisha.
Continue reading “Playing to her strengths”