Building stronger mental health

Ana Guimaraes is a Mental Health Recovery Worker at the Rocherlea Recovery and Rehabilitation Service.

Participating in community programs is vital to building stronger mental health. Anglicare brings a variety of community programs onsite at its Rocherlea Recovery and Rehabilitation Service, outside Launceston.

‘Rocherlea’ offers therapeutic, non-clinical care to adults in a home-like setting. Anglicare operates the service in partnership with the Tasmanian Government’s Adult Community Mental Health Service (ACMHS). It is voluntary and people are free to come and go as they choose.

People staying at Rocherlea can choose to take part in activities to encourage creativity, alleviate anxiety and boost confidence, wellbeing and independence. These include painting, physical exercise, mindfulness, gardening, cooking, and social activities.

Mental Health Recovery Worker Ana Guimaraes says the activities build on people’s existing strengths.

“It’s so important people have opportunities to try new things and to be treated without stigma,” she says. “The take up rate for the activities at Rocherlea is really high”.

Creativity leads to optimism

Ana said she was impressed by the progress of a painting group led by a community-based art teacher.

“The class provides a relaxing, open environment where people feel safe to explore their own creativity and this encourages a more optimistic approach to life,” she explains. “The results are amazing.  No-one knew at the start what they were capable of achieving and now they understand that it’s never too late to start a new hobby.”

The Rocherlea service is situated in a bushland setting that inspires a connection with nature. Therapeutic gardening sessions encourage new ways to use mental health management strategies and build self-sufficiency skills. People also develop healthier eating patterns that will be beneficial for life.

Ana says cooking sessions are another highlight at Rocherlea. “We cover budgeting, meal planning, nutrition and shopping as well as the art of cooking itself,” she says. “The participants gain confidence and knowledge in the kitchen and sharing the meal together at the end is a great opportunity for social interaction.”

Reclink Connect offers regular online Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba and Dancefit classes to the people living at Rocherlea. Reclink Connect is a free program offered by the national sport and recreation charity Reclink Australia.

People are encouraged to suggest new activities at fortnightly meetings. Other sessions focus on developing strategies for managing mental health, basic cleaning and household maintenance skills, and coming together for barbeques and movie nights. A participant-led walking group will start soon.

Interested in finding out more?

 There are two programs on offer at Rocherlea, depending on the person’s timeframe for recovery and transition back into independent living in the community. Shorter term residents usually choose to stay at Rocherlea for up to four week. They have their own rooms with access to shared common areas. People who need longer term support live in stand-alone units for up to two years.

 Check this page on Anglicare’s website for more information. Please note that all referrals need to come through ACMHS.

 PIC: Ana Guimaraes is a Mental Health Recovery Worker at the Rocherlea Recovery and Rehabilitation Service.

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