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Claire champions stigma change 

3 April 2024

Social Worker Claire Walsh has dedicated years of her career to providing support for families and young people dealing with mental health challenges.
Recently she embarked on a project aimed at changing the perception of parents whose children struggled with mental health, alcohol and drug problems and was able to share her impactful work at a social work showcase. 
The showcase theme "Buen Vivir: Shared Future for Transformative Change" aimed to highlight social workers' need for innovative, community-led approaches, fostering skill enhancement across the state and was held on 19 March, marking World Social Work Day 2024. 
Claire said her presentation titled 'Partnering with Parents to Grow Resilience and Facilitate Change,' was based on a four-year therapeutic body of work with her former MSH colleague Georgia Hunt, resulting in a book titled 'The Good Mothers'.
Through this book, Claire said the co-authors had been able to shed light on the profound impact of stigma and discrimination experienced by families living with substance use challenges and highlight the power of connection and shared lived experience in growing resilience. 
“’The Good Mothers’ follows the transformative journey of seven mothers whose children struggled with mental health and problematic substance use and reflects the challenges, courage and resilience of mothers who keep seeing new ways of thinking and behaving to connect with their young people and keep them safe,” Claire said. 
“After working initially individually and then in a group setting the mothers wanted to remain connected and so were offered to engage in a narrative therapeutic process of writing a book. Together we recognised the value of creating a new, practical resource for parents and health professionals that shared the real-life experiences of these families with helpful tools and strategies to grow their resilience,” Claire said explaining how the book came to be.
During her presentation, Claire emphasised a key strategy of shifting from being a facilitator to a partner with parents and said this approach, rooted in critical social work principles, empowered individuals to take charge of their journey towards change and advocate for reduced stigma and shame associated with mental health and substance use challenges. 

"The presentation went really well and I received some lovely feedback from many people including the directors of Social Work at Gold Coast University Hospital and West Moreton HHS."

Copies of Claire’s co-authored book can be found on Amazon.
In 2018 Claire and co-author Georgia Hunt embarked on a project aimed at producing a resource written for parents by parents to support families whose children struggle with mental health, alcohol and other drug problems. The book is co-authored by mothers Elaine, Sally, Sheree, Anna, Tracy, Edel and Lou

Claire's journey 

Claire's social work journey began with a new graduate role at Logan Hospital in 2014. 
She then transitioned to the Emergency Department, where she honed her skills in crisis intervention, loss and grief support, sexual assault support, child protection, family violence, and mental health triaging. 
Claire said this experience solidified her passion for supporting families and young people facing mental health concerns and led her to her current role as a full-time clinician at CYMHS Evolve Meadowbrook where she continues to be a significant advocate in the field of mental health and substance use support.

Last updated 3 April 2024
Last reviewed 3 April 2024

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