3 February 2023

Mental health worker recognised for improving client care

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Spencer McGill.

Spencer McGill. Photo: Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Having lived through depression and anxiety, Spencer McGill has a deeper understanding of people suffering from mental illness and knows what approach to take and how to best help.

Spencer has been recognised for supporting his community, receiving the Murrumbidgee Local Health District’s (MLHD) 2022 Excellence Award for Enriching Consumer Experiences.

“People need you to be real out in the regions, to be resourceful and resilient, and they need to know not only that you have a lived experience but can also help them access local services,” Spencer said.

The MLHD mental health worker connects and empathises with people through the MyStep to Mental Wellbeing program and knows the value of community-based mental health initiatives.

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The MyStep to Mental Wellbeing program provides a range of services to support people wanting to improve their emotional and mental well-being. The initiative is for people of all ages and provides support to manage everyday stress.

The program uses a stepped care model and ensures services are matched to cater to the specific needs of those receiving support.

“I have the privilege of having a pretty unique role,” Spencer said.

“Part of my qualification is to have a lived experience of mental distress and that enables me to be on the same level with the consumer that accesses our program which is completely different to what a clinician would do.

“I’m able to have a chat with people in a non-therapeutic manner … more on a even keel and less of a power dynamic and provide them with tips and tricks that I’ve learned through my own recovery journey,” Spencer said.

The mental health worker sees the program as a valuable service for people seeking help.

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“There is often a mindset of being hard and stoic and not speaking about your problems, but we’re starting to see a bit of shift away from that, which is wonderful,” Spencer said.

Spencer said his journey may or may not be helpful to the recovery journey of those seeking help.

“It’s a different point of reference for a clinician and it’s something I feel very thankful to be able to do,” he said.

The Denilquin-based mental health worker is passionate about reducing the stigma attached to mental illness.

Spencer says he loves living and working in regional NSW and providing support to the community in a meaningful way.

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