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Nancy's story

Nancy is a 32-year-old woman with a quick wit, a love of good company and a real artistic flair. She has diagnoses of major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalised anxiety – all very common in trauma survivors.

Nancy moved from NSW many years ago to escape family violence. She received support from a psychologist for some time but needed a more intensive service so was referred to Mental Health Integrated Complex Care at First Step, through which she received weekly support from a Mental Health Nurse and Care Coordinator while she continued with psychology. Her support team expanded at First Step when it was realised that she would benefit from brokerage funding to overcome barriers to social inclusion.

In extensive consultation with Nancy, the First Step Brokerage Worker targeted funding at building capacity for her to work towards her goals of upskilling and giving back to the community as a teacher. Brokerage has enabled Nancy to establish for herself a sustainable income to continue to do what she loves and is obviously talented at.

While First Step continued to support Nancy with her mental health and trauma, this case study focusses on her psycho-social development.

Managing Daily Living - Nancy requested Art Supplies from brokerage to assist in managing her mental health and daily living. Prior to COVID-19, Nancy would supplement her income by teaching and selling a little art. Access to art supplies enables her to attend free art classes online and work towards her personal goals.

Education and training goals - Nancy requested brokerage to enable her to study, enrolling in an Art Course in Animation-Master Motion. This course enabled her to build capacity and skills to return to the workforce in animation design.

Vocational skills including volunteering - Nancy paid and participated in a watercolour class at the Royal Botanical Gardens in December 2021. Brokerage was used to pay for a continuation of Term 1 class in 2022. She will continue throughout the year and plans to use her new skills to reach her goal of being able to teach art at her local community centre.

Nancy reported loving her classes and has begun to teach at her local community centre, as planned. Nancy is very appreciative for being able to access brokerage to remove financial barriers toward social inclusion and the hope and encouragement that came along with that.

Nancy emailed a thank you, as follows:

'I feel so fortunate to have been able to have access to such a wonderful program that has enabled me to achieve my goals and continue to learn. Thank you for your warm encouraging words and for making a real difference in my life. I will be back in touch when I am famous!'

Nancy has completed the brokerage program, and continues contact with First Step through our GP program. She knows she can talk to her GP if her mental health or other needs increase.

* Nancy's name has been changed to protect her privacy