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Whenever Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services’ director Linda Hipper needs a break or some time to reflect, her staff will gently nudge her with “have you had a fly recently?”
Paragliding is a passion for Linda - she started more than 19 years ago and says it’s allowed her to travel to different and remote places of the world and provides an opportunity to reset and reflect.
When it comes to taking care of her emotional and physical health Linda believes taking time out and listening to your needs is essential.
“Overall what has worked for me is finding my passion, both at work and in my hobbies, and although we can all face difficulties at times, it keeps me coming back,” Linda said.
Linda has been working in mental health for more than 30 years. Initially from Western Australia, she started her career as a psychologist offering an in-house EAP service, before convincing the organisation that she worked for that they should contract out the service, in turn making herself redundant. Linda says this provided an opportunity to go travelling, so she packed up her Land Cruiser with her partner and headed north to explore.
Today, Linda works as Director Addiction and Access Services and Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Services. Reflecting on her career, Linda said “it’s spanned a number of interesting and diverse roles. I would describe my career goal as empowering those around me to deliver holistic care wherever possible, often within the limited resources we have.”
Talking about the role women play in mental health and addiction fields, she believes women are pivotal, particularly in clinical and care settings.
“It is great to see increasing numbers taking up leadership and managerial roles too,” Linda said.
“I have been lucky to experience gender equality from the early stages of my career. I am a realist and am known to never be short of an opinion, and have found that most times I have been listened to and respected throughout my career. On the rare occasion that I have been confronted with issues of gender equality I have been empowered to call them out and not be passive in these situations.”
“The best tip I can give to other women is to not judge themselves too harshly and be prepared to take risks. Additionally it’s important to maintain a good work life balance, and cultivate other interests and hobbies – for me that’s paragliding.”